Kabul [Afghanistan], July 5 (ANI): Amid the recent spike in violence in Afghanistan and deteriorating security situation, Turkey and Iran have reportedly suspended their consulate offices in the country's northern province of Balkh.
This comes after a surge in the Taliban offensive throughout the country including some districts of Balkh. Taliban reached near the provincial capital Balkh Mazar-e-Sharif two weeks back, but hundreds of people have held the Taliban at the outskirts of the city, The Khaama Press reported.
Local officials in Balkh province said these countries have suspended their visa services in Mazar-e-Sharif as the violence has increased in the northern parts of the country and the Taliban have been seizing more territories.
Citing sources, the news agency further said that visas are no longer being issued by these consulates in Balkh province as the diplomats have been relocated to Kabul.
Moreover, the local residents said that other countries in the region like Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are also limiting the number of visas to Afghanistan nationals.
Reports had emerged that Pakistan too had suspended its Consulate in Balkh. But the Pakistan embassy in Kabul in a statement denied the reports of consular section closure.
"The Embassy would like to state these reports are not factual," the statement added. "The Consulates General of Pakistan in Afghanistan including Mazar-e-Sharif are open and functioning normally."
Provincial Governor Muhammad Farhad Azimi said that the Afghan government assured these countries full security but they choose to close their consular sections.
Azimi said that the diplomats of the consulates left Balkh for Kabul due to security reasons and to hold consultations with their countries ambassadors based in Kabul.
Violence has escalated in Afghanistan since the Biden administration announced its decision to withdraw troops from the war-torn country. Experts believe that growing clashes between Taliban and Afghan forces is fueling fears that the country is headed into a civil war. (ANI)