Afghanistan evacuation and Australia immigration minister.

Afghanistan evacuation and Australia immigration minister.

welcome back to sunrise an air force plane carrying up to 100 people evacuated from afghanistan has now touched down in perth this morning now the group of australian citizens and visa holders came via the uae and were processed by immigration officers before entering hotel quarantine it’s a very different story on the ground in kabul as the taliban continues to tighten its grip on the capital and for more i’m joined now by immigration minister alex hawk minister good morning to you thank you for your time if i could start with some of the key numbers how many aussie troops are taking part in this rescue mission and i guess importantly how many people are we hoping to evacuate to australia yeah good morning matt it is a very chaotic and difficult dangerous situation in kabul on the ground and at the airport so i won’t go into exact details of how many trips we’ve sent forward however we are working with our international partners to secure the airport to provide security for people getting to the airport around the airport precinct and australian soldiers are there they’re in harm’s way we have our border force officials our foreign affairs officials on the ground all working hard to process people that can get to the airport and as you point out internationally we’re working with our partners overnight foreign minister maurice payne met with our counterparts again to further work on the plan to provide passage safe passage for people to that airport in kabul so everyone is working very hard to get people through those taliban checkpoints to the airport and onto those planes minister what do you say to claims that australia has abandoned those who helped us when we needed it most namely translators interpreters who now say their lives are at risk well australia’s one of the countries that since 2013 we had a program to meet our obligations to people who helped us in our defence forces or foreign affairs we started granting visas and getting people resettled in 2013 and every year since 2013. so we’ve been a good neighbor and friend of afghanistan’s for a long time we’ve had 8 500 people resettle from afghanistan since 2013. but human rights campaigners ministers say that’s not nearly enough i’ll give you an example uh a gentleman by the name of zatullah rahimi who spent four years as an interpreter for the adf says his family is now being hunted and killed by the taliban as retribution we can see him there now he’s been fervently asking your government for an answer for over a year he hasn’t heard back he says that it’s now or never to help what do you say to his family well firstly we say we’re absolutely dismayed to see the situation in all of afghanistan the entire world um has dismay doesn’t help his family does it well i’m just saying matt australia has done its absolute best we provided security in afghanistan for 20 years with the withdrawal we had a planned exit we had our staff at the embassy withdrawn we had our defense forces withdrawn and we continued to move people from who were afghan nationals in the months leading up in an urgent way out of the country not everybody will be able to get out and sometimes people have extended family throughout the country who four or five years ago might have chosen to stay but now need to leave now we have an urgent and desperate situation we will do what we can we have australian citizens on the ground we have permanent residents on the ground we have afghan nationals with australian visas on the ground we will move as many people as we can but of course in this situation in a war zone in a situation where the country has collapsed the government has given up the forces haven’t fought it will be difficult it will be dangerous it will be desperate and and we are dismayed to see those scenes as the world is and we’ll do our absolute best it is no doubt a dangerous situation and they need the help as soon as they can get it uh immigration minister alex hawk we’re grateful for your time this morning
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Afghanistan evacuation and Australia immigration minister.

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