RAAF mission underway to rescue Afghan Australians
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says a hard and risky effort to rescue Australians and other citizens from the Taliban-controlled Afghan capital is underway.
“Last evening, Australia’s operation to commence evacuating Australians and visa holders, Afghan nationals and others, from Kabul, commenced,” Mr. Morrison said.
A RAAF C-130 military transport jet took off from Kabul early Wednesday and arrived in the United Arab Emirates at 10.45 a.m. Canberra time, carrying 26 passengers, including Australians, Afghan nationals with visas, and one foreign official working for an international agency.
“We’re able to get our first flight in last night.”
As desperate Afghans try to flee the city, the airport in Kabul has become chaotic and deadly. The Prime Minister said that the task is challenging, complex, and risky.
With only 26 people on the Wednesday RAAF flight out of Afghanistan, Mr. Morrison said it was the “first of what will be many flights”.
“We will bring out as many people as we can, as quickly and safely as we can,” Mr. Morrison told reporters.
Afghan Australians plead with the government to be evacuated from Kabul
Afghan Australians and those with Australian visas are pleading with the government to send professional escorts to help them get into the airport.
The federal government’s evacuation effort in Afghanistan is being disrupted by the chaotic and hazardous security situation in Kabul, with some Australians missing the first emergency flight out of the country because they could not reach the airport on time.
Interpreters of Afghanistan who worked with the soldiers of Australia who are anxious to escape the country are appealing to the government to assist them in clearing Taliban security checks around the airport.
The disorder emphasized the security and logistical problems for the soldiers of Australia and authorities.
An Afghan Australian said that his mother and sister both tried to go to the airport for the first flight out of the city this morning, which carried 26 passengers.
“They were told to go to the airport as there are flights scheduled last night, the thing is it is impossible for them to enter the airport,” he said.
An email was issued by officials of Australia to several passengers attempting to board the plane, informing them that the airport’s northern gate had been “temporarily closed” due to a “security incident,” and that they would be unable to access the tarmac.
“We are working to obtain further instructions on how those who were registered for this flight can gain access to the airport for another flight,” it reads.
“We do not have any confirmed details of another flight at this time but will contact you as soon as we have more information.”
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