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Morrison warns Kabul is ‘chaotic’ as first Afghan evacuees arrive home

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed more Australians and Afghan visa holders have been evacuated from Kabul today but warned the Taliban-controlled city remained “chaotic.”

The Prime Minister has confirmed more Australians and Afghan visa holders have been evacuated from Kabul today but warned the Taliban-controlled city remained "chaotic".

Scott Morrison gave an update on the evacuation effort from the Afghan capital after the first Australian mercy flight arrived in Perth earlier today.

He confirmed 60 Australians and Afghan visa holders were evacuated on a second flight from Kabul to Al Minhad, Dubai, last night.

READ MORE: Afghanistan veteran insists Australia must do more for the region

Earlier today a UK flight brought some Australians out of Afghanistan.

A total of 162 people have now been evacuated through various flights. 

They include 94 people who flew from Dubai to Perth overnight, where they have now entered quarantine. 

But the Federal Government also said some people travelling to the airport for Australian evacuation flights had been injured.

Mr Morrison said more flights were planned in the following days.

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"You have to move fast and the situation on the ground is difficult," Mr Morrison said.

"We will continue to work with other nations, other partners in ensuring the airlift of Australians, Afghan nationals who were seeking to support, indeed other foreign officials who are seeking to be evacuated out of Kabul. 

"The situation in Kabul does remain chaotic." 

Mr Morrison said the Australian Defence Force evacuation operations depended on securing flight spots at Kabul airport and weather conditions.

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"It's a quick operation. It takes about 30 minutes. You've got to move very fast and the situation on the ground is difficult. We will continue to work with other nations," Mr Morrison said.

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The prime minister said the UK and US militaries were providing overall security at Kabul airport but people travelling there faced Taliban checkpoints.

"Our biggest challenge is for people to be able to get to that airport," he said.

"We have large numbers now, we're advised, who are starting to come into Kabul through multiple checkpoints that are in place.

"The Taliban leadership is moving into the city."

Mr Morrison ruled out Australian troops providing escorts for people to the airport.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said some people trying to reach the airport had been injured.

"There are people in their thousands, as you've seen, crowding around the entrances to the airport, and there have been unfortunately injuries as well and we have had to address some of those amongst our passenger cohorts, too," Ms Payne said.

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"It is dangerous - in the last day there have been incidents, there have been warnings of potential incidents, it is very complex and it is very uncertain."

US troops are struggling to bring order to the continuing chaos at Kabul's international airport, where Australian citizens, permanent residents and visa holders stranded in Afghanistan have been told to access and await evacuation.

The Department of Foreign Affairs on Thursday told those eligible for evacuation to head to Hamid Karzai International Airport - if it was safe - "to wait for a planned evacuation flight".

"Take all extra precautions for your safety," the department said in an update to its Smart Traveller website.

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"Large and potentially volatile crowds may gather. 

"Review your personal security plans and be aware of your surroundings."

US Military evacuation flights are continuing and three Australian military aircraft are in the area to help with evacuations expected to continue throughout this week and into the next but access to the airport remains difficult. 

Another 40 Australian troops have also been deployed into Kabul as Australian authorities work with allies to hone lists of potential passengers.

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The first Australian Defence Force evacuation flight has departed Kabul with 26 persons on board.

Both Ms Payne and Mr Morrison spoke to their UK counterparts about the situation on Thursday night.

Mr Morrison and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed the immediate priority was to evacuate "nationals and former employees", according to a readout of the call released by 10 Downing Street.

Mr Johnson "stressed the need for a concerted international effort to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, including through increasing aid to the region and the resettlement of refugees."

Source: 9News

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