Warning: graphic image
Kabul: As the hours count down in the evacuation of Kabul, hundreds of former guards at the Australian embassy, and their families, queued in the sewage canal near the Hamid Karzai Airport before being told by soldiers on the wall they did not have the right visas.
Thousands of former Afghan guards, interpreters and families who assisted Australia, the US and British forces during the 20-year-occupation are waiting outside the Kabul airport to be given approval to leave the country.
Hundreds of people gather near an evacuation control checkpoint during ongoing evacuations at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan.Credit:AP
One guard said: “The situation is unbelievable. People are jumping, falling off walls, there’s shootings.”
An Australian government spokesman said the airport opening near the drain was a side access point, not a gate, and it was telling its citizens not to go there.
Elsewhere, one man, posted a video of blood pouring from his own head.
The situation just outside the airport is deteriorating. Afghans with Australian visas are being rejected at the gate.
He said: “They [the Taliban] hit me. I am Australian citizen.”
Then, an armed man could be seen trying to grab his phone and a gunshot rang out.
The man identified on Facebook says he is an Australian citizen.Credit:Facebook
DFAT has been contacted for comment.
As thousands continued to descend on the airport two young girls were reportedly refused entry when their parents were let in.
Pointing at the girls an Afghan man said: “Mr Biden, you did this! You planned this. You made the deal with the Taliban. This is the consequences of it. Mr Biden you were against Trump, now we are against you.”
The Taliban took control of Afghanistan nearly 20 years after they were ousted in a US-led invasion following the September 11 attacks. The Taliban’s return to power has pushed many Afghans to flee, fearing reprisals or a return to the brutal rule they imposed when they last ran the country.
Thousands of people are still thought to be trying to leave, and it’s not clear that all of them will be able to before the end of the month.
The Australian government has told any remaining Australians and Afghan nationals with visas not to travel to Kabul’s airport, in a strong sign that the nation’s evacuation efforts may be over five days earlier than expected.
Assistant Defence Minister Andrew Hastie on Thursday said there was now a risk of suicide bombers outside the airport.
“The situation has deteriorated so much now that the US, Australia and other countries have told people moving to the airport to turn back – because the risk of a suicide bomber is so high,” he told the 6PR radio station.
Evacuations were supposed to continue up until the August 31 deadline imposed by the Taliban, but the security situation around the airport has severely worsened over recent days.
The Australian Government’s Smartraveller website updated its travel advice overnight, saying there’s an “ongoing and very high threat of terrorist attack” in Afghanistan.
“Do not travel to Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport,” the advice states. “If you’re in the area of the airport, move to a safe location and await further advice.
“Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families should register with DFAT. Take all extra precautions for your safety. Remain vigilant and be aware of your surroundings.”
A spokesperson for DFAT said it was not the policy to turn away Afghan nationals with Australian visas at the airport.
“Australian officials are working around the clock to ensure the safe departure of Australians and visa holders seeking to leave Afghanistan,” the spokesperson said.
“A range of identity and immigration documents are being presented to, and dealt with by, Australian officials.
The situation at Hamid Karzai International Airport remains volatile and the situation in Kabul is evolving rapidly. Australian officials on the ground have been working closely with other countries to expand the ways we process people to get more people into the airport and onto planes.”
AP, Telegraph, London, reporters
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