When 80 Afghans -- people who helped the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and their families -- arrived here on evacuation flights, it was meant to be a rare good news story amid the chaos of Australia's withdrawal from Afghanistan.
But watching from Kabul, the news filled "Sameer" (name withheld for security reasons) with a sense of frustration and hopelessness. Like many of the evacuated, he worked with Australian troops during our longest conflict, helping remove landmines around the Bagram air base. Five years ago he applied for a humanitarian visa under the locally engaged employee (LEE) program. He's still waiting.
Overnight, Australia's last troops left Afghanistan with a whimper. But even as the government slowly increases its evacuation of Afghan LEEs, there are thousands like Sameer still stuck in the country, separated from their families and in constant fear of attack from the Taliban. US intelligence believes the Taliban could regain control of the country within six months.