Australian Embassy in Kabul closes during violence in Afghanistan

Australia plans to close the Kabul embassy on May 28 following the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan and the increase in violence in the country last month.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison Announcement Tuesday’s change said it would not undermine Australia’s commitment to Afghanistan or its people.

“With the departure of international and thus Australian troops from Afghanistan in the coming months, the government was advised that it could not provide security measures to support our continued diplomatic presence. It creates an increasingly uncertain security environment, “Morrison said.

He said Australia will continue to commit to bilateral relations with Afghanistan and will “continue to support the stability and development of Afghanistan” in cooperation with other countries.

The Australian Embassy, ​​first opened in 2006, will reopen at a later date after the environment becomes safer, but until then, Foreign Ministry officials will visit Afghanistan from other settlements in the region. ..

Opposition diplomatic spokesperson Penny Wong explained the decision to the government and urged the government to consider alternative options, such as placing its diplomatic presence in the same place as another like-minded country.

She pointed out the importance of Australia’s support for Afghanistan through Australia’s diplomatic presence, development cooperation and people-to-people connections.

“The Morrison government needs to explain how to meet these promises,” she said.

“We are also disappointed that there was no bipartisan talks on this important decision after 20 years of Australian military, diplomatic and development involvement in Afghanistan.

Australian Army in Afghanistan
Australia will withdraw its military and diplomatic staff from Afghanistan at the end of May 2021. Australian soldiers prepare for training in Afghanistan on August 1, 2007. (IanHitchcock / Stringer / Getty Images)

The closure caused astonishment among some of Australia’s Middle Eastern experts.

Adjunct professor Amin Psycal of the University of Western Australia, the author of two books on Afghanistan, including “Ghosts of Afghanistan,” lamented the move.

“Australia will close the embassy in Kabul in three days,” he wrote on Twitter. “Other Western embassies may follow. This further undermines the promise of the United States and its allies to support the people of Afghanistan after the withdrawal of troops under the US Taliban Peace Agreement, all tragedy. Is the target. “

Kirill Noorzanov, senior lecturer at the ANU Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, told The Epoch Times in an email that the Australian move suggests “fatigue in Afghanistan” in the west.

He said the withdrawal would send a “clear message” to the National Unified Government (NUG), even though Australia has only “small footprints in Afghanistan.”

Noorzanov, who co-authored “Ghosts of Afghanistan,” said the border areas with troubled countries are also preparing for worsening security along the border.

“In Central Asia, there is universal expectation that security will worsen at the border with Afghanistan. Front-line states (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan) are enthusiastically strengthening their defense boundaries.” It was.

This concern has also permeated larger players in the region, such as Russia, which is strengthening its military bases.

“They are particularly involved with Russia both at bilateral bases (increased arms transfer) and within the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Russia’s 201st Military Base in Tajikistan is in the event of a military crisis. It has been strengthened to provide additional support to the Armed Forces, “Nourzhanov explained.

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