Permanent residents, visa holders can also go to Kabul airport for evacuation, says official statement.
ANKARA (AA) – The Australian government on Thursday asked its citizens and Afghan nationals with visas to travel to the airport in the capital Kabul for an evacuation flight.
In a statement, the country’s Foreign Ministry said Australian citizens, permanent residents, and visa holders should now travel to Hamid Karzai International Airport.
If you can do so safely, go to Kabul “to wait for a planned evacuation flight. Take all extra precautions for your safety,” said the statement.
People were advised to review their personal security plans and be aware of their surroundings.
“If you’re in Afghanistan, you should leave now. Do not delay,” the ministry urged.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government has begun evacuating its citizens from Afghanistan following improvements in security at Kabul airport.
“Last evening, Australia’s operation to commence evacuating Australians and visa holders, Afghan nationals, and others from Kabul commenced,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.
He added that initially, 26 people, including Australians and some Afghan nationals, were taken to Australia’s military base in the United Arab Emirates.
The Taliban have rapidly taken over Afghanistan in a lightning offensive that blindsided Western powers, as government forces melted away.
The capital Kabul fell to the Taliban on Sunday after the Afghan government collapsed, with President Ashraf Ghani and other key officials fleeing the country.
There were scenes of panic and chaos at Kabul airport on Monday as desperate residents tried to flee the war-torn country. Deaths were reported as some clung to planes flying out of the capital.