Australia in ‘close consultations’ with allies over Afghanistan
Australia says it remains in close consultation with its allies and security partners over potential evacuation operations.
Asked to clarify the status of any Australian Defence Force involvement in evacuation from Afghanistan, a Defence spokesperson said:
“The Australian government is deeply concerned about the evolving situation in Afghanistan. Australia is in close consultations with our allies and security partners, as we always have been since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001. Defence will not comment further for operational security reasons at this time.”
Earlier today, the prime minister, Scott Morrison, said cabinet’s national security committee would meet to “review the various operations” but he would not reveal the details “for the protection of those we’re engaged in seeking to provide for their safety”.
Turning to Afghanistan, the Australian foreign minister, Marise Payne, says she discussed the “deteriorating situation’’ there in a call with the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, this morning. Payne says the pair “reflected on our respective contributions over many years”.
It remains unclear precisely what evacuation efforts Australia may be involved in, but Payne endorsed a statement backed by the US and dozens of countries with a message for the Taliban. The countries “call on all parties to respect and facilitate the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country”.
After chaotic scenes at Kabul airport, the Australian government posted that Australians should “not go to the airport unless told by the Australian Government”: