Australia will close its Kabul embassy in three days, ahead of the withdrawal of its final contingent of troops from Afghanistan, informed Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday.
“Our residential representation in Afghanistan and the Australian Embassy in Kabul will be closed at this time”, Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a joint statement. “In light of the imminent international military withdrawal from Afghanistan, Australia will, as an interim measure revert to the model of visiting accreditation for our diplomatic representation to Afghanistan, which we used from the opening of diplomatic relations in 1969 until 2006,” added the statement.
The Australian embassy in Kabul has been open since 2006, reported abc.net.au.
Morrison and Senator Payne said the embassy building would close on May 28, but that officials would visit Afghanistan regularly from a “residential post” elsewhere in the region. “The departure of the international forces and hence Australian forces from Afghanistan over the next few months brings with it an increasingly uncertain security environment where the government has been advised that security arrangements could not be provided to support our ongoing diplomatic presence,” said the joint statement.
“It is Australia’s expectation that this measure will be temporary and that we will resume a permanent presence in Kabul once circumstances permit,” they said.
“This form of diplomatic representation is common practice around the world.” “It does not alter our commitment to Afghanistan or its people.” Earlier this month Senator Payne visited Afghanistan, reported abc.net.au.
Today’s statement said that during the trip she “reaffirmed Australia’s support” for, and remained committed to, its relationship with the Afghanistan government.