STATEMENT FROM DAMIAN DRUM MP
“The images coming out of Afghanistan are truly frightening.
“One only has to see the sheer chaos and despair at Kabul Airport over the past 24 hours to realise the dire situation faced by Afghans as the Taliban again takes control of the country.
“My electorate of Nicholls is home to many Afghans who have relatives that remain in Afghanistan – my office has, and will continue to, assist those families wherever possible.
“As stated by Foreign Minister Marise Payne, no Afghan visa holder currently in Australia will be asked to return to Afghanistan while the security situation remains dire.
“All Afghan citizens currently in Australia on a temporary visa will be supported by the Australian Government.
“Over the last 20 years, some 39,000 Australian Defence Force personnel, including many from Nicholls, have served in Afghanistan and the current events will be distressing for many of them.
“I encourage those struggling at this time to speak with friends and family, while help is also available to veterans and their families at Open Arms on 1800 011 046.
“The Australian Defence Force is deploying more than 250 personnel to support urgent efforts to evacuate Australian citizens and visa holders.
“A KC-30A departed Amberley yesterday for Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East and will commence refuelling operations in support of the wider US-led operation later this week. Two C-17A Globemasters will also depart for the Middle East later this week.
“Defence is taking all necessary precautions to protect its people and those authorised for evacuation.”