Afghan Ambassador to China Quits After No Pay for Six Months
(Bloomberg) -- Afghanistan’s top diplomat in Beijing has abandoned his post after not being paid for six months, leaving one of the Taliban’s key foreign missions with a single member of staff.
Ambassador Javid Qaem, a holdover from the Islamic Republic government that fell to the Taliban, announced his decision in a Tweet posted to his account Monday. “I quit my job as ambassador,” he wrote. “It was an honor to represent AFG and my people,” he said, using an abbreviation to refer to Afghanistan.
Qaem couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. In an email to Bloomberg last month, he said the embassy was operating “as of 30 Dec.”
The Taliban-controlled Foreign Ministry said a statement will be issued on the matter and a first secretary will represent the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in China.
The Taliban retook the Afghan capital of Kabul after 20 years of fighting U.S. forces in August. Qaem urged China to open trade with Afghanistan to ease the country’s subsequent humanitarian crisis in an interview with Bloomberg in November. He also called on the Taliban to resume education for girls and asked the international community to overcome its uncertainty over how to deal with the militant group.
Qaem’s tweet included a partially redacted handover note dated Jan. 1 in which he detailed recent operating difficulties at the embassy. He wrote that Afghan diplomats in China had not been paid by Kabul for six months, and had resorted to drawing funds from a bank account meant for expenses. There was now around $100,000 left in that account, he said.
Qaem added that he’d leave the keys to the embassy’s five cars in his office. One local staff member, Xiao Lie, would be retained to staff the front desk. The Chinese Foreign Ministry had been “well informed” of the situation, he said.
“I will seal and lock all the doors of the embassy and residence except Miss Lie’s office,” he wrote. “Wish you all the best!”
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