Scott Morrison condemns ‘evil’ ISIS-K terrorist bombing as ADF troops are pulled from Afghanistan

Helena BurkeNCA NewsWire
Defence Minister Peter Dutton warned that ISIS-K were ‘even more extreme than the Taliban’. Zak Simmonds
Camera IconDefence Minister Peter Dutton warned that ISIS-K were ‘even more extreme than the Taliban’. Zak Simmonds Credit: News Corp Australia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has expressed dismay and fury at the frightening and increasingly violent situation in Afghanistan.

Two suicide bombers from the terrorist group ISIS-K let off dual bombs outside Kabul’s international airport on Thursday evening.

After the blasts, ISIS-K gunmen released open fire on Afghan civilians and US forces.

An Afghan official reported that 60 people were killed and another 143 were wounded. Washington DC later confirmed that at least 13 US troops had also died.

Mr Morrison condemned the “evil, the calculated and inhuman attacks” of the terrorist group but noted that, sadly, the blasts were not unexpected.

“It was not unexpected as we previously flagged,” he said.

“Even when they are sadly expected ... they still make your heart sink.”

The PM lamented the Kabul bombings were undertaken “on the innocent and on the brave,” declaring Australia was now in mourning for the many American and Afghan allies who had been killed.

Earlier on Friday, Defence Minister Peter Dutton confirmed the Australian Defence Force would not be returning to Afghanistan to evacuate more Australian citizens.

Mr Dutton said the risk was too severe following the bombings.

Mr Morrison echoed the Defence Minister, stating there were “no plans” for Australian troops to re-enter Afghanistan.

“The situation in Afghanistan is very serious,” he said.

“We have been there for 20 years seeking to turn from a failed state into a successful state and, sadly, that hasn’t proved possible.“

The PM was dismayed that despite Australia’s long-running and heroic efforts in the war-torn nation, the threat of terrorism in Afghanistan still existed.

Speaking to the Today show on Friday, Mr Dutton expressed similar feelings of despair.

“I just grieve – like every decent person would – at the loss of life and, in particular for us, the loss of the American lives,” he said.

“These are people that have helped literally thousands of Australian citizens, visa holders and permanent residents.”

“Our troops will be devastated by the loss of their comrades.”

The Defence Minister confirmed that the ADF would not be returning to Afghanistan, lamenting any mission to evacuate Aussies from Kabul would simply be too dangerous now.

“If we were to continue in that situation, we would have had casualties now as well,” Mr Dutton said, confirming no Australian troops had been killed in the blast

“The reality of what’s on the ground at the moment hasn’t made it possible for us to lift more people out.

“We can‘t continue to put our ADF personnel and their lives at risk.”

Mr Dutton warned that additional terrorist attacks in Kabul were likely, urging those who remained in the war zone to avoid public places at all costs.

“There was clear intelligence that ISIS-K intended to strike and strike hard,” he said.

“These people are more extreme than the Taliban and are basically at war with the Taliban.”

ISIS-K is an affiliate group of the Islamic State group that operates in Afghanistan. The group had warned that they would attack Kabul airport if people did not out evacuate by a certain date.

NCA NewsWire understands that the group attacked sooner than it warned it would.

Dutton Redevelopment
Camera IconDefence Minister Peter Dutton warned that ISIS-K were ‘even more extreme than the Taliban’. Zak Simmonds Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Dutton said the ADF had successfully lifted more than 4000 innocent people out of the war-torn country in the past week.

But for those who have been left behind, Mr Dutton said any possibility of safety was unclear.

“There’s advice that some people are getting to go to other borders, but there’s great uncertainty there at the moment … we know that some Australians have travelled there in recent months,” he said.

“The Taliban have given assurances – we don‘t know whether we can accept that or not.

“We hope commercial flights are available again soon, but as we’ve seen overnight, and as the intelligence continues to indicate, more terrorist attacks are likely.”

“(Afghanistan) remains a very, very difficult part of the world and will do for a long period of time”

The Prime Minister said while Australia would no longer be helping those stranded in Afghanistan to flee the Taliban-controlled state, work would continue to try to combat terrorism in Australia’s own region.

“We will continue to take every step necessary to protect Australians, to keep Australian safe and to ensure stability – especially in our region,” Mr Morrison said.

Originally published as Scott Morrison condemns ‘evil’ ISIS-K terrorist bombing as ADF troops are pulled from Afghanistan

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