New Delhi, Jul 6 (PTI) India on Tuesday described as 'incorrect' reports of closure of its embassy and consulates in Afghanistan even as Afghan Ambassador Farid Mamundzay briefed Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on the fast-evolving situation in the war-ravaged country.
In a Twitter post, the Indian embassy in Kabul said it is closely monitoring the security situation, particularly around Kandahar and Mazar cities.
Afghanistan witnessed a series of terror attacks in the last few weeks as the US looked to complete the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan by September 11, ending a nearly two-decade of its military presence in the war-ravaged country.
'Media reports on #India closing its Embassy & Consulates in Afghanistan are incorrect. @IndianEmbKabul, Consulates in Kandahar & Mazar are open, functioning. We DO HOWEVER continue to closely monitor the evolving security situation particularly around Kandahar & Mazar cities,' the embassy said.
There were reports that at least two foreign missions in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, have closed their operation in view of escalating violence in the region.
Amid growing concerns in India over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, Afghan Ambassador Mamundzay on Tuesday briefed Foreign Secretary Shringla on the security situation in Afghanistan.
In a meeting with Mamundzay, Shringla assured him of India's long term commitment towards peace and prosperity in Afghanistan.
'Foreign Secretary @harshvshringl was pleased to welcome Ambassador @FMamundzay of Afghanistan. Ambassador briefed FS on the security situation in Afghanistan. FS assured our Afghan friends of India's long term commitment towards peace and prosperity in Afghanistan,' external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
People familiar with the development said the Afghan envoy's briefing included the overall security situation including the Taliban's efforts to expand its control in various parts of the country and steps taken by Afghan security forces to deal with them.
They said India's assistance was also sought at the UN Security Council for putting restrictions on certain Taliban leaders under the provisions of the UNSC Resolution 1267.
India is concerned over increasing levels of violence as well as the Taliban's efforts to expand its influence.
Last month, Shringla said that the Taliban's relentless pursuit of power through violence has created an uncertain environment in Afghanistan and the situation in the country is 'fluid' at this point in time.
The Indian embassy last week asked all Indians visiting, staying and working in Afghanistan to exercise the utmost caution with regard to their security and avoid all types of non-essential travel in view of rising incidents of violence in various parts of the country.
In an advisory, the embassy said the security situation in Afghanistan remains 'dangerous' and that terror groups have carried out a series of complex attacks including targeting civilians, adding Indian nationals additionally face a 'serious threat' of kidnapping.
India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested nearly USD 3 billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.
India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.
In March, Afghan foreign minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar visited India during which Jaishankar conveyed to him India's long-term commitment towards a peaceful, sovereign and stable Afghanistan. PTI MPB TIR TIR