KABUL: Australia will close its embassy in Afghanistan in the coming days as foreign forces begin to depart the country, an Australian news agency reported on Tuesday.
The Australian embassy in Kabul has been open since 2006.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne expressed hope that the closure would be temporary and that the embassy would probably be reopened in the near future.
“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,” the pair said in a joint statement.
The embassy building will shut on May 28, but Prime Minister Morrison and Senator Payne said staff will visit Afghanistan on a regular basis from a “residential post” elsewhere in the area, the statement added.
“Australia expects this measure to be transitory, and we will re-establish a permanent presence in Kabul as soon as circumstances allow,” Morrison was quoted by Australian Broadcasting Corporation as saying.
“This form of diplomatic representation is common practice around the world. It does not alter our commitment to Afghanistan or its people,” Morrison said.
Morrison said the departure of Australian and international personnel in the coming months will create a more unpredictable security situation.
“The government has been advised that security arrangements could not be provided to support our ongoing diplomatic presence,” he said.
Meanwhile, according to ABC, Morrison stated last month that the last 80 Australian troops in Afghanistan would be withdrawn by September, a deadline announced by the US President Joe Biden.