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Third ADF plane lands in Australia

A third Australian Defence Force plane carrying 80 Australian citizens, permanent visa holders and local employees has touched down in Australia from Afghanistan.

More than 240 people have flown into Australian from the Afghan capital Kabul as chaos and conflict in the country escalates.

But more than 240 Australian citizens still remain, with rescue missions consistently being hampered by the Taliban’s takeover.

It comes after the government announced it would accept a further 3000 Afghan citizens fleeing the conflict-ridden country.

The Australian government has now issued 690 visas to local Afghan employees and a further 3000 humanitarian places consisting mainly of women and children.

The mission to rescue people has proven difficult, particularly for those stuck in Kabul who have been blocked off from the US military-controlled airport by Taliban checkpoints.

The government is currently looking at what the options are on the ground, Australian employment minister Stuart Robert told reporters on Saturday.

“It is a very difficult situation in Kabul,” Mr Roberts said.

“It’s difficult at the best of times, let alone now with streets choked, and issues of course with the change of power. So it’s very uncertain, it is certainly dangerous.”

The first flight to bring those people to Australia — from the UAE to Western Australia — arrived at Perth‘s international airport at 1:30am on Friday.

Those arriving in the country have included Australian customs, immigration, consular and foreign service officers, as well as Afghan interpreters and contractors who assisted the Australian Defence Force.

Evacuees have arrived at the Hyatt Hotel where they will quarantine.

Mr Roberts said the government’s first priority was moving Australian citizens, permanent residents and visa holders safely out of Afghanistan.

“To those who are still in Afghanistan; the message remains constant. Keep in touch with DFAT, make sure your details are recorded with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and DFAT will co-ordinate with you whatever the next steps are,” he said.

“DFAT will contact anyone in Afghanistan regarding flights.”

rhiannon.tuffield@news.com.au

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