Ardern: Up to 47 Kiwis in Afghanistan, as MFAT works to get people out

Source: 1News

Cabinet will be meeting on Monday to consider how they can support New Zealanders currently in Afghanistan, as more cities fall under control of Taliban militants. 

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told 1 NEWS overnight 17 New Zealanders are currently registered as living in the Middle Eastern country. 

However, the spokesperson said there could be more who aren’t registered. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Breakfast MFAT was "actively working" to get those people out through commercial flights.

She said the figure of 17 kept changing depending on information from people's families and contacts. 

"The latest number ... is as high as 47, that's even changed from what I had earlier this morning," Ardern said. 

She said Cabinet would be discussing how else it could help Kiwis escape Afghanistan, as well as who else might be eligible for assistance from New Zealand.

She said there would be a further discussion about who met the criteria for as part of a 2012 resettlement deal for Afghan intepreters who worked with the NZ Defence Force and NZ Police.

“We need to make those decisions quickly, because that window of time to get people out, either via ourselves or via our partners, is short.”

It comes as Taliban fighters move into Afghanistan’s capital Kabul , with President Ashraf Ghani fleeing overseas. 

Commercial flights from Kabul have been suspended. 

The Taliban claimed it would soon announce the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace. 

An update from the New Zealand Government is expected at 11am.