An estimated 375 people were left behind in Afghanistan when the government suspended evacuation flights, and the “second phase” of evacuation efforts is far from over.
Attempts to evacuate New Zealand citizens, visa holders and Afghan allies ended Friday after a deadly terrorist attack outside Kabul International Airport. More than two weeks ago, the militant Taliban hastily took control of Afghanistan.
The U.S. Department of Defense announced Tuesday that all remaining troops have withdrawn from Kabul after ending two decades of international military presence in Afghanistan. Since then, there have been shootings in Kabul, allegedly in celebration of the departure.
The full evacuation debate in Parliament on Tuesday confirmed that the New Zealand Special Air Service (SAS) is present in Kabul, and that New Zealanders and visa holders are effectively stuck in the country in the future.
* New Zealanders were told to stay away from Kabul airport due to the threat of terrorism.
* A former Kiwi soldier applied for a visa for Afghan allies.
* The Royal New Zealand Air Force evacuated Kiwis and Australians from Afghanistan.
Authorities were also completely blinded by the Taliban’s immediate takeover, and they had no plans to repatriate Afghans at risk due to contacts with New Zealand, or to New Zealanders before the Taliban took over. Didn’t plan to evacuate.
Speaking to the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Selection Committee on Tuesday morning, Defense Secretary Penny Henare said she appreciated the bravery of Special Forces personnel, including a “female engagement team” that was part of the evacuation efforts.
The Army’s Special Forces unit is the SAS, and the women’s engagement team. A unit of female soldiers is attached to the SAS for situations where it is “culturally unacceptable” for male soldiers to talk to women..
The Defense Forces issued a statement on Tuesday stating that a team of Special Forces and a team of women had moved to a security area around the outskirts of Kabul Airport to evacuate New Zealanders. To be found.
This includes helping a wheelchair-bound woman and her son, and helping people despite the threat of a terrorist attack, albeit “dirty pits, barbed wire fences.”
“The team contacted the approved evacuation and guided them through the crowd to get to the place where they could be brought to the airport,” Heinare said.
“I’m saddened to hear the media reports that we have failed to remove all the people we were looking for.”
Foreign Secretary Chris Seed confirmed to the select committee that as of Tuesday morning, 375 people, including 51 New Zealanders and 52 permanent residents, were in Afghanistan.
“Of course the fact that people will put themselves on our list, our consular list, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re trying to leave, I’ll make that clear.”
About 37,372 New Zealanders, their families and visa holders fled Afghanistan in an attempt to evacuate, but the number is not yet certain.
Foreign Minister Nania Mahota said the “second phase” of the response to the Afghanistan crisis would be with partner countries. The cabinet had not yet consulted.
“We are not yet in the position of what it is, because the information is still being compiled so that the second phase of the response can be presented to the cabinet,” he said.
He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) had received 8,000 inquiries from Afghans seeking resettlement under the government’s promise to work with the New Zealand Defense Force, police, relief programs or operations. Will take action against Afghans at risk due to Burnham Inquiry
MFAT continued to process these requests.
At the select committee hearing, Defense Chief Kevin Short said the Defense Force is receiving daily intelligence reports from five-eyed allies – the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
He said the last piece of intelligence he saw on August 8, a week before the Taliban claimed Kabul, claimed that “if all goes wrong, the country will not collapse for another 60 to 90 days.” “
Before the cabinet’s decision after the fall of Kabul, neither Hunare nor Short answered directly from opposition lawmakers’ questions about whether there were current plans to evacuate people from Afghanistan.
New Zealand acted with great intelligence when we had decisions. We have responded to this unfortunate humanitarian crisis as soon as possible.