Australia won’t be able to help all Afghans who helped its military, PM says

CANBERRA: Australia will not be able to help all Afghans who worked with its military, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, as it prepares its evacuation plan after the Taliban seized control of the country.

Australia said on Monday it would send 250 military personnel to Kabul to evacuate it citizens and an unspecified number of Afghans who had been given visas after working with Australia.

US forces in control of Kabul’s airport resumed evacuation flights on Tuesday, a day after chaos there as desperate Afghans sought to flee.

“We will continue to do everything we can for those who have stood with us, as we have to this day,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

“But I want to talk openly to veterans that despite our best efforts, I know that support won’t reach all that it should.”

Australia was part of a NATO-led international force that battled the Taliban and trained Afghan security forces in the years after the militants were ousted in 2001.

More than 39,000 Australian military personnel served in Afghanistan and 41 of them were killed there.

Morrison’s admission will fuel criticism of his government following weeks of calls by former military personnel that a US withdrawal from Afghanistan would leave Afghans who worked with Australia in danger.

Morrison said Australia had fast-tracked visas for 430 people from Afghanistan. The government said on Tuesday nobody already in Australia would be deported back to Afghanistan.