Afghanistan's Taliban rulers are closing the country's diplomatic missions in the United States seven months after they took power in Kabul, according to diplomatic sources.
Afghanistan's embassy in Washington and its consulates in New York and Los Angeles are to cease operations as of March 16, an Afghan diplomat who wished to remain anonymous told dpa in Washington.
The diplomat named a lack of resources as one reason for the closures but did not go into detail.
The diplomats working in the United States until now were appointed by the former Western-backed government in Kabul that was overthrown by the hard-line Taliban in August last year. They have not been paid for months.
The Afghan diplomat said efforts had been made to keep operations going until the very end. A message was last published on the Washington embassy's Twitter account on December 30, saying: "In the absence of funds from any source, we are working hard to keep the embassy open and to continue providing our services. We remain hopeful that one day Afghanistan will achieve a sustainable peace."
After the missions are closed, Afghan diplomats will have 30 days to apply for a further stay in the United States before being deported, the New York Times reported, citing U.S. State Department sources.
They would not be sent back to Afghanistan, but it is not clear where the diplomats would go. Around a quarter of the roughly 100 Afghan diplomats in the United States have not yet applied to stay in the country, according to the report.