Australia to close Kabul embassy in days as troops prepare withdrawal
Australian Prime Minister Question Time in Canberra - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives to attend House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House. Australia will close its embassy in Kabul this week as the country's troops prepare to leave in line with the international withdrawal from Afghanistan, Canberra said Tuesday. - Lukas Coch/AAP/dpa
Australian Prime Minister Question Time in Canberra - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives to attend House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House. Australia will close its embassy in Kabul this week as the country's troops prepare to leave in line with the international withdrawal from Afghanistan, Canberra said Tuesday. - Lukas Coch/AAP/dpa

Australia will close its embassy in Kabul this week as the country's troops prepare to leave in line with the international withdrawal from Afghanistan, Canberra said Tuesday.

Australia's embassy building will close on Friday, with officials in future visiting Afghanistan from a post elsewhere in the region, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a joint statement.

The government said Australia would revert to diplomats using visiting accreditation for relations with Afghanistan, as was the case before the Kabul embassy opened in 2006.

"It is Australia's expectation that this measure will be temporary and that we will resume a permanent presence in Kabul once circumstances permit," the statement read.

Canberra cited the "increasingly uncertain security environment" that has come with the imminent departure of international forces and said the government had been advised security arrangements could not be provided to support an ongoing diplomatic presence.

The move "does not alter our commitment to Afghanistan or its people," Payne and Morrison said.

The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the government in Kabul was aware of and respected Australia's decision to "suspend" the embassy.

The statement added that the Afghan government hoped the decision would be temporary and the embassy may resume its activities soon.

The ministry also thanked the Australian government for its support over the past two decades.

Afghanistan is in a state of uncertainty after US President Joe Biden announced that American troops will pull out from the country by September 11, 2021 after almost 20 years. NATO agreed to follow suit.

Almost 10,000 NATO soldiers from the Resolute Support training mission - including 2,500 soldiers from the US and around 1,100 from Germany, the two biggest contingents - are due to leave the country.

Australia has 80 troops remaining in Afghanistan as part of the NATO mission.

Since the withdrawal officially began on May 1, the Taliban have intensified attacks on provincial capitals, districts, bases and checkpoints.