On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the US-Australia partnership, President Joe Biden spoke to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday, 2 September, and thanked him for the close coordination on Afghanistan amid the ongoing crisis in the war-country. Biden further affirmed plans for the forthcoming in-person Quad Leaders Summit.

The White House readout stated, “President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia. Together they celebrated the 70th anniversary of the U.S. alliance with Australia”.

This call comes after America completed its troops withdrawal process from Afghanistan after 20 years of its presence on 31 August. The US has taken in almost 24,000 Afghans at risk as part of evacuations from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized the country. Over 1,24,000 people were brought to the US or to third countries from Afghanistan prior to American troops’ withdrawal.

QU leaders Summit

In August, senior officials of Australia, India, Japan, US met via a video conference for the first Quad meeting since March, to discuss a number of initiatives including control and management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden had proposed a Quad summit meeting involving PM Narendra Modi, Australian PM Scott Morrison, and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga for September this year. The meeting is scheduled to be held after the general debate of the UN General Assembly, which is to be held in September in New York City.

This meeting is aimed to mark unity among the four Indo-Pacific democracies amid China’s growing assertiveness as President Biden is seeking to build “a position of strength” to directly engage with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Australia shuts Embassy In Kabul

The Scott Morrison-led Australian government on 28 August closed its embassy in Afghanistan and has withdrawn all the staff. Even though some Australian nationals reportedly still remain in the Taliban-controlled nation, the embassy has been shut amid fear of further violence.

Australia’s Defence Minister Peter Dutton on 27 August informed that Australian troops had left Afghanistan before a deadly suicide bombing attack that killed soldiers and civilians at Kabul’s international airport.

Dutton stated, “I can confirm that not too long before the attack Australian troops and the rest of our personnel were wheeled up and out of Kabul”.

(With ANI input)

(Image credit: AP)