The Latest: Australia flies out 26 from Kabul, plans more

Hundreds of people gather near a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane at a perimeter at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. On Monday, the U.S. military and officials focus was on Kabuls airport, where thousands of Afghans trapped by the sudden Taliban takeover rushed the tarmac and clung to U.S. military planes deployed to fly out staffers of the U.S. Embassy, which shut down Sunday, and others. (AP Photo/Shekib Rahmani) (Shekib Rahmani, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia has evacuated the first 26 people, including Australian and Afghan citizens, from Kabul since the Taliban overran the Afghan capital, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday.

An Air Force C-130 Hercules transport aircraft landed at an Australian military base in the United Arab Emirates with the 26 who included a foreign official working for an international agency, Morrison said. The remainder were Australians and Afghans.

“This was the first of what will be many flights, subject to clearance and weather and we do note that over the back end of this week, there is some not too favorable weather forecast,” Morrison said.

Two Hercules and two larger C-17A Globemaster transport aircraft will make further evacuation flights.

Australia plans to evacuate 130 Australians and their families plus an undisclosed number Afghans who have worked for Australian soldiers and diplomats in roles such as interpreters.

Australia’s goal is to evacuate 600 people, according to media reports. Morrison did not provide a number. “Our goal is as many as we can, as safely and as quickly as we can,” he said.

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MORE ON THE CRISIS IN AFGHANISTAN:

— Taliban announce ‘amnesty,’ urge women to join government

— Taliban encounter Afghan cities remade in their absence

— US agencies scrub websites to protect Afghans left behind

— Taliban take over Afghanistan: What we know and what’s next

— Biden: Afghan chaos ‘gut-wrenching’ but stands by withdrawal

— Billions spent on Afghan army ultimately benefited Taliban

— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/afghanistan