More than 300 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan on four RAAF repatriation flights out of Kabul overnight, but the Prime Minister can’t guarantee they will be able to get everyone out safely.
Scott Morrison confirmed that Australian citizens and Afghan visa holders were among those flown out of Afghanistan.
Citizens from the UK, US and New Zealand were also among the evacuees.
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The Prime Minister also revealed that advice to Australians in Afghanistan has not changed despite the US telling its citizens not to travel to Kabul Airport because of safety fears.
US officials were reportedly investigating threats made by ISIS to Kabul Airport and the US military.
“As best as we can communicate in what is a very chaotic environment with comms under constant pressure and very chaotic scenes outside the airport, then we continue to make that communication and get as many people through as we possibly can in the time we have available, as safely as we can,” Mr Morrison told the ABC.
“I can’t speak for the advice to others, but given the situation, which I’ve got to stress is terribly dangerous outside the airport, and there are enormous frustrations. All countries are experiencing that in trying to bring people through and get them through.”
There are growing fears that the window of opportunity for evacuation flights is closing as the security situation in Kabul continues to deteriorate.
US President Joe Biden has guaranteed American citizens that they will be evacuated, but Mr Morrison couldn’t give the same assurance for Australians.
“We will get as many people out as safely as possible.
“I can’t guarantee the situation in Afghanistan. Australia is not in that situation. The US are in a very different situation to Australia. We have to work in the environment as we know and we have to do the best we possibly can.”
The Prime Minister has rejected criticism that the government has taken too long to get Australians out of the troubled country arguing they have been repatriating people for months.
Mr Morrison also wouldn’t be drawn on whether he disagreed with America’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan.
“After 20 years, the United States made a judgement. After 20 years of trying to make a failed state functional.
“Australia’s presence in Afghanistan is entirely conditional on the United States presence in Afghanistan.”