Senior-most Afghan diplomat in India resigns following reports of gold smuggling

Zakia Wardak
Zakia Wardak

New Delhi | Zakia Wardak, the senior-most Afghan diplomat in India, has resigned from her position after reports emerged that she was caught at Mumbai airport last month for allegedly trying to smuggle 25 kg of gold worth Rs 18.6 crore from Dubai.

Wardak had taken charge as the acting ambassador of Afghanistan to New Delhi since late last year after working as the Afghan Consul General in Mumbai for over two years.

In a statement posted on 'X', the Afghan diplomat said she decided to resign in view of numerous personal attacks on her that severely impacted her ability to effectively operate.

She, however, did not mention the reports of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seizing 25 kg of gold from her at the Mumbai airport on April 25.

It is learnt that the DRI did not arrest Wardak as enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

"It is with great regret that I announce my decision to step away from my role at the consulate and embassy of Afghanistan in India, effective May 5," she said.

"Over the past year, I have encountered numerous personal attacks and defamation not only directed towards me but also towards my close family and extended relatives," she said.

Wardak took charge of the Afghan embassy in New Delhi last November after the mission helmed by then ambassador Farid Mamundzay announced its closure.

Mamundzay had moved to the UK.

There was no comment by Indian officials on Wardak's resignation.

"These attacks, which appear to be organised, have severely impacted my ability to effectively operate in my role and have demonstrated the challenges faced by women in Afghan society who strive to modernise and bring positive change amidst ongoing propaganda campaigns," Wardak said in her statement.

She said the "persistent and coordinated" attacks have surpassed a "tolerable threshold".

"While attacks on me and my character were not altogether surprising, as being in public life is something I had prepared myself for, I was unprepared for the toll it took on those close to me. It is not fair to subject them to such unwarranted and horribly unfair experiences," she said.

"The persistent and coordinated nature of these attacks, aimed at defaming my character and undermining my efforts, have surpassed a tolerable threshold," Wardak added.

"It has become increasingly clear that the public narrative is unfairly targeting the only female representative within this system, rather than focusing on constructive assistance and support," she said.

"While it is my passion to serve my country and contribute to positive change, I find it necessary to prioritize my well-being and ability to function in a normal capacity. Therefore, I have made the difficult decision to resign from my current role."

The Afghan diplomat also thanked India for its "unwavering support" during her tenure in the country.

"It has been a great privilege working alongside the people of India for the past three years. I am grateful for the collaborative efforts and shared vision for progress between nations," she said.

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