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Afghan diplomat resigns after being accused of gold smuggling | Latest news India

The most senior Afghan diplomat in India resigned from her position on Saturday following reports that she was detained at Mumbai airport last month while allegedly trying to smuggle 25kg of gold worth nearly $2.2 million. from Dubai.

Zakia Wardak. (Archive)

Zakia Wardak, who was sent to India as consul general in Mumbai three years ago and had been functioning as acting ambassador in New Delhi since late last year, said in a statement published on X that she was resigning due to “numerous personal attacks and defamation.” ” had “seriously affected my ability to effectively perform my role.”

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The statement, released in Dari, Pashto and English, does not mention reports that officials from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) stopped her at the Mumbai airport on April 25 when she was returning from Dubai and discovered that she was allegedly carrying 25 currency notes. one dollar. One kilogram of gold bars is worth more than $18 crores.

Because Wardak was traveling on a diplomatic passport issued by the former Afghan government led by Ashraf Ghani, she was not arrested. People familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity that she was interrogated for more than 12 hours after gold bars were found hidden in pockets sewn to his jacket and her belt.

The DRI acted because there were suspicions that Wardak had allegedly smuggled gold into India on other occasions since late last year, the people said. They added that the physical search carried out by the DRI did not violate the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

At the time she was detained, Wardak was traveling with her son, who was not found with any contraband, the people said. Wardak has traveled frequently to Dubai in recent months, they said.

Although Wardak was appointed by Ashraf Ghani’s government, videos and images posted on social media by the current Taliban establishment in Kabul show her participating in virtual meetings chaired by the Taliban’s acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi.

There was no information on the development from Indian officials. Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen, when contacted by HT, said he would check and respond.

Wardak and another Hyderabad-based Afghan consul general, Syed Mohammad Ibrahimkhail, took charge of the affairs of the Afghan embassy in New Delhi last November, shortly after it was closed by former ambassador Farid Mamundzay, who moved to the Kingdom United.

The Indian side has maintained that Wardak and Ibrahimkhail did not represent the Taliban as they were appointed by the previous regime, did not fly the Taliban flag at Afghan diplomatic premises or use the term “Islamic Emirate” (the nomenclature of the Taliban) in their formal communications.

Wardak claimed that she was working under the flag of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and that she and Ibrahimkhail had participated in numerous meetings with Indian officials in New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and other cities. On March 23, Wardak had received the senior Indian diplomat dealing with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran at the Afghan embassy in New Delhi.

A former senior Afghan official, who did not want to be identified, described the events involving Wardak as an embarrassment for Afghanistan and the Taliban system.

Wardak said in her statement about her resignation that she was unprepared for the toll the attacks on her took “on the people close to me.” She added: “The persistent and coordinated nature of these attacks, aimed at defaming my character and undermining my efforts, have crossed a tolerable threshold.”

She also thanked the Indian government for its “unwavering support” towards her.

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