Australia announces Kabul embassy closure before troop withdrawal
Sydney, Australia, May 25 (EFE).- Australia announced Tuesday the closure of its embassy in Kabul, prior to the withdrawal of the last soldiers it deployed in Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison Morrison said the embassy, which opened in 2006, will close Friday “in light of the imminent international military withdrawal from Afghanistan,” although he left open the possibility that it would reopen in an unspecified future.
“Australia hopes this measure will be temporary and that we will resume a permanent presence in Kabul once circumstances permit,” said the president in a joint statement with Foreign Minister Marise Payne, adding that the measure does not alter “Australia’s commitment to the Afghan people.”
In mid-April, Morrison announced the withdrawal of the last 80 Australian soldiers deployed in Afghanistan before September, following in the footsteps of the United States and NATO.
Australia deployed more than 1,500 soldiers for combat operations between 2001 and 2014 in Afghanistan, considered the largest military contribution of a country outside the Atlantic Alliance, and has since kept small military detachments dedicated to training.
In November 2020, Australia announced it would seek to prosecute soldiers suspected of committing war crimes from 2005, when it deployed 150 members of the special forces and strengthened its military presence in Afghanistan. In previous years its contribution was mainly for logistical activities. EFE