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Afghan Consul General resigns after being held for allegedly smuggling 25 kg gold
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Afghan Consul General resigns after being held for allegedly smuggling 25 kg gold

| @indiablooms | 05 May 2024, 12:04 am

New Delhi: Consul General of Afghanistan Zakia Wardak in Mumbai has announced her resignation after it came to light that she was held while allegedly attempting to transport 25 kg of gold valued at approximately Rs 18 crore into India from Dubai, media reports said.

The most senior Afghan diplomat in India cited "personal attacks and defamation" as well as a "public narrative unfairly singling out the sole female representative within this structure" as reasons for her decision, NDTV reported.

Wardak was intercepted with the gold at Mumbai airport by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence in late April, the report said.

While reports indicate that the gold was confiscated and a case was filed, she was not detained due to her diplomatic immunity.

Appointed by the previous Ashraf Ghani administration in Afghanistan, which was succeeded by the Taliban in 2021, the diplomat's resignation underscores India's continued engagement with officials from the Ghani government.

In a statement announcing her decision to step down from her post effective Sunday, Wardak 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.”

"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," she said.

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

The report said that Wardak also thanked the Indian government for the "warm welcome and unwavering support" during her tenure. "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 our nations," she wrote in the statement.

"I sincerely hope for a future where women in leadership roles are supported and respected, where opportunities for progress are embraced rather than met with hostility and defamation. My commitment to advocating for positive change remains unwavering despite this decision," she said.

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