Pfizer vaccine available to youth ages 16-39, NSW COVID cases grow, Victoria COVID cases grow, ACT COVID cases grow, NSW lockdown continues, Melbourne lockdown continues, Victoria lockdown ACT continues, tension between Taliban and Afghanistan rises
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has not pledged to match the promise of the UK and Canada to bring 20,000 Afghan refugees.
Hawke told ABC that Australia’s promise to accept 3,000 Afghan refugees will be a “floor,” but would not provide an estimate of how high the income might ultimately be. This figure comes from this year’s existing humanitarian cap of 13,750 people.
“We know that it will increase and it will be a greater number and we will continue to inform people as the humanitarian crisis and the situation evolves after the immediate emergency of the evacuation of Kabul,” he said, adding families, minorities, women and priority would be given to the girls
76 people were evacuated overnight, including Australian citizens. Hawke said some Australians had shown up in the past 24 to 48 hours and Australia had also offered New Zealand citizens a ticket.
Afghan citizens who worked in Defense or Foreign Affairs are given the same priority as Australian citizens and permanent residents.
“Everyone has fallen short by the situation that is developing,” he said.
When asked if he thinks the Taliban have changed, he said he was “skeptical.”
He said a test of whether the Taliban can be trusted is whether they are meeting their international obligations to countries on the ground that are trying to evacuate people.
Meanwhile, former SAS captain and federal MP Andrew Hastie has criticized the idea that Australia’s rescue mission in Afghanistan is behind the eight ball, saying the government resettled 430 Afghans in the past three months alone.
“Our government was ahead of the curve. We started packing several weeks, actually months ago, ”he told reporters in Perth.
Mr. Hastie said that “all the interpreters who hit the ground were shot or exposed to roadside bombs”, his case was resolved by the government.
He said he was surprised by the speed at which the Taliban had wiped out the gains made by NATO forces in the country over the past two decades.