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Rabu, 25 Agustus 2021

Australians warned to keep away from Kabul airport due to 'very high' risk of terror attack - ABC News

Australians are being warned not to go near Kabul's international airport if they are not already inside, as the threat of Taliban violence against those trying to enter worsens.

Another 1,200 people were evacuated on four Australian flights and one New Zealand flight overnight, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

Mr Morrison said more than 4,000 people had been flown out by Australian and New Zealand forces since the evacuation mission began, three times what had been anticipated.

"There are 4,000 people that can testify to the actions of the government ... a result that, compared to where we were last week, has so far exceeded our expectations about what we hope we might be able to achieve," he said.

But the dangerous mission to get people out of Kabul is becoming more difficult.

Early this morning the Department of Foreign Affairs updated its advice on Smartraveller, warning people not to head to Hamid Karzai airport, and telling those nearby to keep away.

"If you're in the area of the airport, move to a safe location and await further advice," the advice said.

Australians who tried to enter the airport before the warning was issued said it was nearly impossible to get inside, and they were forced to turn back as the Taliban beat people and tear-gassed crowds.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the situation was deteriorating.

"I have seen [and] heard reports of the attacks on women, attacks on children, threats at checkpoints, invasions of transports, where children and families have been threatened in those transports, as they have been trying to get to the airport," she said.

Senator Payne said the government would contact individual citizens and visa holders with specific advice on travelling to the airport as it became safe to do so.

The UK and US have also warned their citizens to stay away from airport gates.

"US citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately," the US embassy in Kabul said in a statement.

"Avoid airport gates at this time."

A crowd of Afghans stand on a sewage-filled trench at Kabul airport, their faces have been blurred
Former Australian embassy guards and their families were forced to wade through sewage as they tried to get into the airport this week.(

Supplied

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Islamic State branch 'targeting' airport for attack

But the threats to people seeking to escape Kabul are not just from the Taliban.

In a televised statement, US President Joe Biden warned a local branch of the Islamic State (IS) group, known as the Islamic State in the Khorasan Province, ISIS-K, or IS-KP, was known to be planning an attack on the airport.

"Every day we're on the ground is another day we know that ISIS-K is seeking to target the airport and attack both US and allied forces and innocent civilians," Mr Biden said.

The US President said the threat was part of the reasoning not to extend the August 31 deadline for US and allied withdrawal of troops.

The group is an enemy of both Western forces and the Taliban.

People seeking to escape have just days before what Defence Minister Peter Dutton described as the "drop-dead" deadline set by the Taliban arrives.

The Taliban has encouraged Afghans to stay, but has said it won't prevent those with permission to leave from catching commercial flights once they resume.

Mr Dutton said the Taliban must prove their words with action.

"The Taliban can say all that they like but what will count at the end is their actions, and the last time they exercised authority or were in power it was in a very brutal way," Mr Dutton told radio station 2GB.

"You would expect there would be retribution."

Last night the White House said 82,300 people had been evacuated on coalition flights since the Taliban first entered Kabul and the urgent mission to get people out began. 

But US media has also reported chartered flights leaving almost empty, with the evacuees booked to take them being unable to get inside the airport.

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Repatriation flights have brought more than 600 people to Australia from a Middle Eastern airbase since the operation began.

Those people are now quarantining at hotels in several states across the country.

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https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMiZ2h0dHBzOi8vd3d3LmFiYy5uZXQuYXUvbmV3cy8yMDIxLTA4LTI2L2thYnVsLWFpcnBvcnQtdGVycm9yLXdhcm5pbmctYXVzdHJhbGlhbnMtc21hcnRyYXZlbGxlci8xMDA0MDgzODLSAShodHRwczovL2FtcC5hYmMubmV0LmF1L2FydGljbGUvMTAwNDA4Mzgy?oc=5

2021-08-25 22:57:08Z
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