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Indian diplomats' stay in Afghanistan extended

October 26, 2008 15:42 IST

Notwithstanding the high level of threat to Indian Missions and staff in Afghanistan, India has decided to increase the tenure of diplomats and other personnel by six months in its Consulates in Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat provinces.

The decision is significant as India has decided to reduce the tenure of its diplomats and other staff in Islamabad [Images] from three to two years because of security considerations.

The government has decided to extend the tenure of diplomats and other staff of these Consulates from 18 months to two years, officials sources said.

The decision will apply to those who are yet to complete half of their tenure in these stations, the sources said.

Those officials and other personnel, who have already completed half of their tenure, can also opt for the extended tenure of six months for which they will have to apply to the Ministry of External Affairs, they said.

The government took the decision after reviewing security situation in these crucial Consulates of trouble-torn Afghanistan.

The decision is significant as it comes despite the high level of threat to Indian Missions and staff in Afghanistan, which was highlighted by the audacious suicide attack on the Embassy in Kabul three months back.

India lost a Brigadier-rank Defence Attache and a senior IFS officer along with two security personnel in the attack that is believed to have been carried out by the Taliban [Images] in league with Pakistan's intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence.

Besides this, there have been several attacks on Indian Consulates and Indians engaged in reconstruction work in Afghanistan. Threats are also continuously received by the Missions and staff from the Taliban which wants Indians to leave the country.

The decision also assumes significance considering that the government, citing security reasons, decided to reduce the tenure of diplomats and other staff in the High Commission in Islamabad from three to two years.

The government, in fact, is not ruling out making Islamabad a 'no-family' station if security concerns heighten.




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