Not in vain: PM Scott Morrison defends Australia's involvement in Afghanistan
- "No Australian who has ever fallen in our uniform has ever died in vain," Scott Morrison said
- Morrison said his government is working to navigate future steps that should be taken
- He said his government is still working to get Afghan nationals to safety
"No Australian who has ever fallen in our uniform has ever died in vain - ever," Morrison told ABC News on Monday. "Freedom is always worth it, fighting for it, whatever the outcome."
The prime minister said his government was still working to get the remaining Afghan nationals who had assisted Australian forces to safety.
The statements from the country's Premier comes after the Taliban forces took over the entirety of Afghanistan and entered capital Kabul, capping a lightning offensive across the country.
Talking about the primary motive of Australia to join forces with the Afghan government in 2001, Morrison said they went there to "track down Osama Bin Laden and to ensure that we denied al-Qaeda a base of operations out of Afghanistan."
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Marise Payne was expected to speak with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday, he said. The issue will also be discussed at a meeting of the National Cabinet on Monday, according to SBS News.
"But I can't go into detail of what is there for the safety of those involved," he added.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, reportedly, the 53-year-old said that his government along with its allies and security partners is working closely to navigate what further steps can and should be taken.
However, on the ABC News show, he declined to say whether Australian defence personnel are returning to the area. The United States on Sunday announced they will be sending an additional 1,000 troops to Afghanistan, bumping up the number to 6,000 in total, to help move embassy staff.
The UK has also said it would deploy about 600 troops to help its nationals and local translators get out.
Meanwhile, the final Australian troops left Afghanistan on 28 May and some 400 locally engaged employees and their families have already been resettled in Australia since April this year, according to SBS News.
"Australia and our allies have done much to secure their peace but this remains a very troubled part of the world not just recently but over generations and generations," Morrison said.
"We went there with our primary purpose, as I’ve indicated, and that was to hunt down Osama bin Laden and prevent al-Qaeda using it as a base and mounting their attack. That was achieved but the challenge for the people of Afghanistan, sadly, remains an unresolved issue and we hope for the best for them but the situation is very dire."
Meanwhile, footage showed Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, who has reportedly resigned from his post, boarding a plane for Tajikistan on Sunday and fleeing from the country as Taliban insurgents remained camped on the outskirts of Kabul amid the group's talks with government officials at the Presidential Palace for a "peaceful transition of power."
The Taliban’s retake comes after they were expelled by the United States 20 years ago following the September 11 attacks.
An interim government run by Taliban fighters has been announced following negotiations between the Afghan government and Taliban negotiators. Reportedly, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a prominent Taliban leader, would lead the next Afghan government.