A top Afghan diplomat has launched an urgent appeal for asylum in Australia, saying he will soon have his diplomatic credentials stripped and will be executed by the Taliban following the fall of Kabul.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday conceded that Australia would not be able to help all Afghans who worked with Australian troops on the basis that the government had been unable to track all of them down.
Mr Morrison said he understood many Australian veterans were concerned about the safety of local interpreters and other Afghans they served alongside during the decades-long conflict.
“We will continue to do everything we can for those who have stood with us, as we have to this day,” Mr Morrison said. “But I want to talk openly to veterans that despite our best efforts, I know that support won’t reach all that it should. On the ground events have overtaken many efforts, we wish it were different.”
Australia is trying to work out how to land multiple RAAF aircraft at Kabul airport to rescue almost 600 Australians and Afghans. More than 250 Australian troops are on standby at the ADF’s forward operating base in the United Arab Emirates.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke announced on Tuesday that no Afghan national in Australia would be deported to Afghanistan while the security situation in the country remains “dire”. But the fate of Afghan diplomats is unclear.
The top Afghan diplomat said the risk to him and his family was “extremely high and we can be targeted and killed at any moment by the Taliban”. He applied for a contributory parent visa to move to Australia in 2019, but has now sent an urgent application for a humanitarian visa after the Taliban captured Kabul.
A letter provided to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that appears to have been sent to the diplomat makes threats to his life and that of his family.
The letter, dated July 26, accuses the diplomat of being a “diplomat for an infidel and apostate Administration”.