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Australia to close its Afghan embassy


Australia to close its Afghan embassy

Photo: Eyevine

Australia closes its Afghan embassy today.

Today’s closure comes as the US expedites its withdrawal from Afghanistan—originally set for September 11—to mid-July. The US’ move has caused panic across rural Afghanistan causing Afghan National Army (ANA) forces to begin surrendering en masse to the Taliban.

Canberra is likely concerned that the Taliban will soon take Kabul and coopt its existing embassy, hence the closure. Nevertheless, Australia’s fears are not unfounded. The ANA’s ability to hold territory was largely due to the assistance of US air power. Now, without air support, the ANA will likely collapse under the weight of its corruption and ineptitude.

Expect Canberra’s decision to be reluctantly accepted by Kabul as it struggles to deal with the Taliban. Afghanistan will instead focus on how to approach the Taliban to create a transitional government in the short-term, before the group takes to the offensive and begins invading Afghan cities. Still, as the Taliban themselves are a largely fragmented organization with combative internal politics, it is unlikely the group will be able to effectively take and maintain control over the whole of Afghanistan in the medium- to long-term. As such, a transitional government may take form in the medium-term.

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