US takes control of Afghanistan embassy, consulates

World

The seal of the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Washington, Tuesday, May 17, 2022. The United States has taken control of Afghanistan’s embassy in Washington and the country’s consulates in New York and California. The State Department says it had assumed “sole responsibility” for the security and maintenance of the diplomatic missions effective on Monday and will bar anyone from entering them without its permission. The move came after the department said the embassy and consulates had “formally ceased conducting diplomatic and consular activities in the United States.” (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States has taken control of Afghanistan’s embassy in Washington and the country’s consulates in New York and Beverly Hills, California, the State Department said Tuesday.

The State Department said it had assumed “sole responsibility” for the security and maintenance of the diplomatic missions effective on Monday and would bar anyone from entering them without its permission until further notice.

The move came after the department determined that the embassy and consulates had “formally ceased conducting diplomatic and consular activities in the United States” at noon on May 16.

The U.S. does not recognize the new Taliban government in Afghanistan, which took power last year after the withdrawal of American and allied troops, and does not have formal diplomatic relations with the country.

“Until further notice, the Department of State’s Office of Foreign Missions has assumed sole responsibility for ensuring the protection and preservation of the property of the referenced missions, including but not limited to all real and tangible property, furnishings, archives, and financial assets of the Afghan Embassy or its consular posts in the United States,” the department said in a notice to be published Wednesday in the Federal Register.

The missions were identified as the Afghan embassy in Washington, and consular posts in Little Neck, New York, and Beverly Hills, California.

The department noted Afghanistan had not requested a third country to serve as a “protecting power” for its facilities or interests in the U.S. Since Washington closed its embassy in Kabul, Qatar has served as the U.S. protecting power in Afghanistan.

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