DFAT advice reversed for Australians in Kabul

26 August 2021

Written by: Gemma Scerri

Australians are being warned to avoid Kabul airport due to "very high risk" of terror attack.

Australians not already inside Kabul airport are being told to avoid the location, as overnight the threat of Taliban violence against those trying to enter escalated.

The Department of Foreign Affairs updated its advice on Smartraveller this morning, with a clear message – “do not travel to Kabul International Airport”.

“If you’re in the area of the airport, move to a safe location and await further advice…there’s an ongoing and very high threat of terrorist attack”.

This advice has been updated alongside reports surfacing from Afghanistan that the Taliban have reportedly been beating people trying to reach the airport. Australians trying to enter the airport prior to the warning being issued have said ‘it was nearly impossible to get inside,’ being forced to turn back, while the Taliban beat and tear-gassed crowds.

Yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said the security situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating by the hour. Andrews told 4BC radio that four Royal Australian Air Force flights have flown out of Kabul airport, increasing the number of people evacuated by Australian forces to 2700.

“This is in excess of what we thought we’ve be able to achieve in such a short space of time,” she said.

The federal government in conjunction with the United States have been working to airlift thousands of people out of Afghanistan since the return of the Taliban.

Since the Taliban’s return to control in Afghanistan, distressing footage has been emerging of people trying to flee, including a video posted online last night.

The man filmed is believed to be from South Australia, and appears in the video bleeding from a head wound.

“They hit me, I’m an Australian citizen and they hit me,” he says.

“See, this is [happening] to me as I was crossing to the airport,” he says, followed by the audio of a gun being cocked and fired before the video cuts off.

This video and others like it come despite the United States saying the Taliban had assured “safe passage” for foreign citizens until August 31st.

“The Taliban have made public and private commitments to provide and permit safe passage for Americans, for third-country nations and Afghans at risk past August 31st,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

Currently, the United States has flown out more the 82,000 people, while Australia and New Zealand have flown out 2,700 people since the evacuation mission began.

Photo: by Australian Institute of International Affairs . This image has not been modified.