Defence Minister Peter Dutton says it is too dangerous for Aussie troops to return to Afghanistan amid a devastating terrorist bomb attack.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton has announced the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will not be returning to Afghanistan to evacuate more Australian citizens, stating the risk to our troops is now too severe following a devastating bomb attack on Kabul overnight.
Two suicide bombers from the terrorist group ISIS-K let off dual bombs outside Kabul’s international airport on Thursday evening.
US Central Command chief Kenneth McKenzie said after the blasts had finished, ISIS-K gunmen released open fire on Afghan civilians and US forces.
An Afghan official reported that 60 people were killed and another 143 were wounded. Washington DC later confirmed that at least 12 US troops had also died.
Mr Dutton told the Today show on Friday that the entire thing was a “horrible” event.
“I just grieve – like every decent person would – at the loss of life and, in particular for us, the loss of the American lives,” he said.
“These are people that have helped literally thousands of Australian citizens, visa holders and permanent residents.”
“Our troops will be devastated by the loss of their comrades.”
The Defence Minister confirmed that the ADF would not be returning to Afghanistan anytime soon, lamenting the mission to evacuate Aussies from Kabul was simply too dangerous now.
“If we were to continue in that situation, we would have had casualties now as well,” Mr Dutton said, confirming no Australian troops had been killed in the blast
“The reality of what’s on the ground at the moment hasn’t made it possible for us to lift more people out.
“We can’t continue to put our ADF personnel and their lives at risk.”
Mr Dutton warned that additional terrorist attacks in Kabul were likely, urging those who remained in the war zone to avoid public places at all costs.
“There was clear intelligence that ISIS-K intended to strike and strike hard,” he said.
“These people are more extreme than the Taliban and are basically at war with the Taliban.”
ISIS-K is an affiliate group of the Islamic State group that operates in Afghanistan. The group had warned that they would attack Kabul airport if people did not out evacuate by a certain date.
NCA NewsWire understands that the group attacked sooner than it warned it would.
Mr Dutton said the ADF had successfully lifted more than 4000 innocent people out of the war-torn country in the past week.
But for those who have been left behind, Mr Dutton said any possibility of safety was unclear.
“There’s advice that some people are getting to go to other borders, but there’s great uncertainty there at the moment … we know that some Australians have travelled there in recent months,” he said.
“The Taliban have given assurances – we don‘t know whether we can accept that or not.
“We hope commercial flights are available again soon, but as we’ve seen overnight, and as the intelligence continues to indicate, more terrorist attacks are likely.”
“(Afghanistan) remains a very, very difficult part of the world and will do for a long period of time”
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