AT Monitoring Desk
KABUL: The Taliban on Tuesday pledged to provide a “safe environment” to foreign diplomats, after Australia announced it would shutter its embassy over security concerns in the near time.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan assures all foreign diplomats and staff of humanitarian organizations that (we) will not pose any threats to them,” Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem told AFP.
“We will provide a safe environment for their activities.”
The United States has formally begun withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, opening the final chapter in America’s longest-ever war, but heralding an uncertain future for a nation in the tightening grip of the Taliban.
Most US troops are expected to leave by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaeda attacks that sparked the US-led invasion of the country.
Australia on Tuesday unexpectedly announced it will shut down its embassy in Afghanistan this week, expressing fears over the “increasingly uncertain security environment” in Kabul in the wake of foreign troop withdrawal.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials will instead visit Afghanistan from other residential posts in the region, according to The Canberra Times.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the facility would close as an “interim measure” on May 28 – in just three days – “in light of the imminent international military withdrawal from Afghanistan”.
“It is Australia’s expectation that this measure will be temporary and that we will resume a permanent presence in Kabul once circumstances permit,” Morrison said.