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Afghan Diplomats Scuffle At Embassy In Rome As Deputy Claims Taliban Appointment

Taliban officials arrive in Moscow for a conference in October 2021. The Taliban-led government hasn't made appointments of diplomatic representatives to most Afghan diplomatic missions abroad. 

Afghanistan’s embassy in Rome says it was forced to call Italian police for help after a sacked Afghan diplomat attacked the ambassador.

The embassy said in a statement on January 5 that the former diplomat -- identified as Mohammad Fahim Kashaf -- entered the embassy building a day earlier claiming he had been named ambassador by Taliban militants, who seized power from the government in August.

The statement said Kashaf “attacked the ambassador in the presence of an embassy employee but the ambassador defended himself and called the Italian police."

Kashaf was escorted by police out of the embassy, it added.

The embassy in Italy, like many of Afghanistan’s other diplomatic missions, remains in limbo with most staff still loyal to the Western-backed government toppled by the Taliban.

According to the statement, Kashaf had lost his job recently due to a "lack of commitment to national values and the values of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.” The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the internationally recognized name of the country. The Taliban calls the country the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

In Kabul, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of the Taliban-led government denied Kashaf's appointment as ambassador but also said he had not been dismissed.

Abdul Qahar Balkhi said the ministry’s records showed Kashaf was appointed first secretary at the embassy in Rome in December 2020, with a contract valid until December next year.

"But the ministry has also not appointed him as ambassador of the Afghan Embassy in Rome. Kashaf's contract is valid, and his termination is illegal,” Balkhi said in a statement.

The Taliban-led government, which is not recognized by any country, hasn’t appointed new diplomatic representatives to most Afghan diplomatic missions abroad.

With reporting by AFP and BBC Pashto
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