A Sydney woman whose husband was at Kabul airport when a bomb exploded is thankful he was not injured but remains fearful for his safety.
Fatima said he returned to the airport on Wednesday after being issued with a temporary visa. She said he was ignored by Australian soldiers outside the airport gate where he had waited for more than 24 hours to gain entry.
“I don’t think he can make it to the airport again,” she said. “I am so scared and worried.”
Her husband is one of 200 people in Kabul who Sydney migration lawyer Anna Ryburn is desperately trying to help rescue. Ms Ryburn said Fatima’s husband and at least three other clients were near the airport’s Abbey Gate when a bomb exploded.
One Sydney man said his wife was in hospital after being knocked unconscious in the blast near the Abbey Gate. “She is okay now,” he said.
Ms Ryburn estimated that about 50 of her clients have now escaped Kabul after securing a place on a flight. She said she had registered the names of her clients with Australian government officials and had provided photographs of them, so they could be identified at the airport gates.
“They have had the names and photos and have abandoned them outside the gate,” she said. “They left them standing there with the gate shut.“
Sydney lawyer and human rights advocate Mariam Veiszadeh said Australia now needed to look at finding alternative options to evacuate Afghan Australians. She said people on temporary visas needed to be provided with a pathway to residency and Australia needed to increase its humanitarian intake, particularly for those most at risk.
“After the dust has settled we will need to review what went wrong and how this can be avoided in the future,” she said. “Mistakes on our end may have potentially put lives at risk.”
A Sydney man whose wife and children were near the explosion said they were not injured and still stuck at the airport.
Another Sydney man said his wife has a visa but has been unable to get to the airport through Taliban checkpoints. He was fearful for her safety because the Taliban were searching the area where she lived.
Mr Morrison said on Friday he had written to US President Joe Biden to convey the nation’s and his own “deep, personal sadness” about the deaths of the 13 soldiers.
“Australia condemns the evil, calculated and inhuman attacks that were undertaken in Kabul overnight on the innocent and the brave,” he said. “We join our American and Afghan friends in mourning this terrible and awful loss.”
Mr Morrison said Australia managed to evacuate 4100 people out of Kabul airport over nine days, which was “quite astonishing and a great credit” to the ADF, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Department of Home Affairs.
US President Joe Biden vowed to continue his country’s evacuation efforts until the August 31 deadline set by the Taliban after it captured Kabul.