The United States has taken control of the Afghan Embassy in Washington and Afghan consulates in two U.S. states, the State Department has said.
The State Department has assumed "sole responsibility" for the security and maintenance of the diplomatic missions and their "furnishings, archives, and financial assets" and will bar anyone from entering them without its permission until further notice, the department said in a notice to be published on May 18 in the Federal Register.
The move came after the department determined that the embassy and the consulates in Little Neck, New York, and Beverly Hills, California, had "formally ceased conducting diplomatic and consular activities in the United States" at noon on May 16.
Washington does not recognize the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan, which took power last year after the withdrawal of U.S. and allied troops, and does not have formal diplomatic relations with the country.
A department official told AP the step did not signal any change in U.S. policy toward Afghanistan.
The United States took control of the facilities in an agreement with diplomats from the former Afghan government who faced "severe financial constraints that made continued operations unsustainable," the official said.
The department noted Afghanistan had not requested a third country to serve as a "protecting power" for its U.S. facilities or interests. Since Washington closed its embassy in Kabul, Qatar has served as the U.S. protecting power in Afghanistan.