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United States withdraw from 20-year war in Afghanistan

The United States involvement in the Afghanistan war reached an end, as the last plane of US troops left Kabul airport this morning.

The last flight left just before Joe Biden’s evacuation deadline of August 31st.

Unfortunately, General McKenzie reported that US troops were unable to evacuate everyone they wanted out of Afghanistan. The number of US civilians left behind was in the low hundreds.

Image of American soldiers
Image via Financial Times

Troops defended airlifts of tens of thousands of Afghan, American and Australian civilians seeking to escape a country once again taken over by Taliban militants. Their final departure marks the formal end of the nearly 20-year war.

The last hours of the evacuation were tense, as American troops faced the brutal final task of evacuating people onto planes while getting themselves and their equipment out. Amidst this they encountered repeated threats and fought two attacks by Islamic State affiliate group, ISIS-K.

 

Meanwhile Afghan Australians, who fled the Taliban, are now being targeted by scammers, claiming they can receive visas for family members who are still in Kabul.

Paris Aristotle, a resettlement expert said many recent arrivals were traumatised by their experience in Kabul. This vulnerability has lead to many “reports already of unscrupulous people claiming to be credible migration agents that will lodge an application and get their family a visa… all they have to do is give them $8,000 to $15,000. It is utterly unnecessary, it is pure exploitation of this group’s vulnerability.”

Mr Aristotle said it was important for people to use credible and established migration services, citing Refugee Legal as an example. He identified such services as ones where “They won’t be charged for [assistance] and they will get credible legal advice.”

Image of refugee legal team
Refugee Legal team Image via Refugee Legal

Paul Aristotle said due to this unfamiliarity with lockdown and the trauma experienced in Kabul “we will have to have strategies for supporting them that minimise any sense of isolation or loneliness…so they feel can feel safe and secure and part of Australian more generally.”

Evacuees from Kabul must spend two weeks in isolation and further lockdown, based on the current situations in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.