Sydney, Australia, Aug 27 (EFE).- The Australian government terminated its evacuation operations in Afghanistan on Friday, saying that its troops left the country before the twin bombings at Kabul airport that killed dozens.
“I can confirm that not too long before the attack, Australian troops and the rest of our personnel were wheels up and out of Kabul,” Defense Minister Peter Dutton announced.
Australia has evacuated over 4,000 people on 29 flights since the Taliban took over the Afghan capital in mid-August, the minister confirmed.
At least 60 people – most of them Afghans – were killed and at least another 140 were wounded when two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked outside the airport where Afghans desperate to be evacuated from the country had amassed.
The Australian government had earlier Thursday warned its citizens in Afghanistan not to approach Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport due to the “high threat” of a terror attack.
“There was clear intelligence that [ISIS-K] intended to strike and strike hard. They’ve done that,” the minister told Channel 9.
“These people are more extreme than the Taliban and are basically at war with the Taliban. It is a horribly complex situation. I’m very pleased and relieved our soldiers have departed from Kabul and we took the decision to lift the last of our people yesterday and they are safely in the United Arab Emirates and I’m very pleased for that.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he mourns with “American and Afghan friends” after the attack, that killed at least 13 United States service members.
“Australia condemns the evil, the calculated and inhuman attacks that were undertaken in Kabul overnight on the innocent and on the brave,” Mr Morrison said. “We join with our American and Afghan friends in mourning their terrible and awful loss.”
He added that the opportunity for remaining Australians to leave with allied forces was “restricted,” according to national broadcaster ABC.
Australia would now move into a “post-evacuation stage” of resettling people through humanitarian channels, it added.
According to the latest data from the White House, the United States and coalition forces have evacuated or facilitated the departure from Kabul airport of more than 100,000 people, about 7,500 on Thursday alone. EFE