Australia urges safe passage for people fleeing Taliban-controlled Afghanistan

Australia urges safe passage for people fleeing Taliban-controlled Afghanistan

The Australian government has joined calls to ensure safe passage out of Afghanistan for people seeking to flee the Taliban.

The pursuit of further cooperation comes after the United States’ last armed forces left the capital Kabul, ending its involvement in 20 years of conflict in the country. Australia’s last troops left Kabul last week.

The Taliban has provided assurances that all foreigners and Afghan citizens with travel authorization can leave the country safely.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, after the US completed its mission, that he did not take for granted any window for people to flee. He said he remained “cautious” about how “substantially” and “how long” this commitment could be relied upon.

“You have to be very careful with those commitments, but that doesn’t change what you do, which is perseverance,” he told reporters.

“Afghanistan is a place where the situation is deteriorating, as you know the US has now completed their mission there. And so they are entering the same phase as Australia, just like the UK and many other countries.”

It is unknown how many Australian citizens and visa holders are left in the country, but options to leave are now limited.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution on Monday calling on the Taliban to allow safe passage to those who want to leave.

The resolution — drafted by the United States, United Kingdom and France — was passed by 13 votes, with China and Russia both abstaining.

He also stressed the need to maintain access for humanitarian aid, respect human rights, achieve an inclusive political settlement and fight terrorism.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the Taliban’s enterprise is being closely watched by the international community.

“It’s an expectation in terms of the ability to travel safely and travel safely, which we are very focused on,” she told reporters on Tuesday.

“We know it is a very big concern for those who remain in Afghanistan.”

The federal government has pledged to welcome at least 3,000 Afghan nationals to its existing humanitarian influx this fiscal year.

It has described the figure as a floor, not a ceiling, with the prime minister saying he “would like to see more”.

Morrison said the government would continue to work with its Five-Eyes partners and international agencies to bring people to Australia.

“We will work together to give as many people with whom we have worked closely as possible the chance for a new life in Australia,” he said.

Foreign Secretary Marise Payne during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra.

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Senator Payne added that people who had been granted temporary humanitarian visas and who are still in Afghanistan would be contacted about next steps “when it is safe.”

“The processing of those visas remains a priority,” she said.

Senator Payne held a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday about the unfolding situation in Afghanistan.

The pair also discussed mutual efforts to help Afghan refugees and partners, according to a statement from the US embassy in Australia.

Mr Blinken said on Tuesday that the Taliban will be held to their promise of “free movement for foreigners, visa holders and Afghans at risk”.

“We will work to ensure their safe passage,” he said in a speech at the State Department.

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