Tajikistan: Taliban Take Control of Consulate


At the same time, the embassy in Dushanbe, which is still run by the anti-Taliban opposition, is reportedly considering its position.

The Afghan consulate in the eastern Tajik city of Khorog has come under Taliban control, and officials at the main embassy in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, are still weighing their options, a diplomatic source said.

An embassy representative in Dushanbe who spoke to  Eurasianet on March 27 . org, on condition of anonymity, said the consulate in Khorog issues Afghan passports and that the Taliban have been paying employees for the past two months.

“Formally, the consulate is part of the embassy itself, but in reality it is outside our control and is directly connected to the Taliban,” the source said.

The embassy in Dushanbe still refuses to recognize the Taliban government and has instead pledged allegiance to former Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh.

Residents of Khorog said the consulate building was damaged in an avalanche in February, but staff continue to work. This past weekend, the Taliban-run Foreign Ministry released  a statement saying that one of its top officials visited a city across the Pyanj River from Afghanistan to oversee the mission’s activities and inspect repairs.

The visit indicates that the Taliban’s takeover of the consulate has received some degree of blessing from the Tajik authorities, who have otherwise taken a predominantly cool stance on the Taliban since the Taliban toppled the government of President Ashraf Ghani in 2021. A source at the Afghan embassy in Dushanbe said he was not sure if the Taliban delegation met with any of the Tajik officials.

“Despite the fact that no one has ever recognized the Taliban government, 16 countries have already allowed Taliban representatives to work in embassies. And therefore, we will not be surprised if our embassy is also transferred to the control of the Taliban,” he said.

The Taliban was recognized as a terrorist organization in Tajikistan by a decision of the Supreme Court in March 2006.

Despite cool relations, Afghanistan and Tajikistan continue to trade with each other. According to official figures, trade last year reached $111 million, about a third more than in 2021. Almost all of this amount is accounted for by the export of Tajik products to Afghanistan. The main export items are cement and electricity.

President Emomali Rahmon has been openly hostile to the Taliban in his public statements. In August 2021, he  stated that his government would not recognize Taliban rule in Afghanistan unless the country’s ethnic Tajik minority, which he said made up 46 percent of the total population, was given a “worthy role” in government.

He demonstrates his anti-Taliban stance in other ways, such as posthumously awarding state decorations to the late leader of the Northern Alliance, Ahmad Shah Massoud, and former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was assassinated by the Taliban in September 2011. After the recent rise to power of the Taliban, Rahmon offered asylum to Masood’s son Ahmad, who positions himself as the head of the armed anti-Taliban opposition.

Source: eurasianet