Prime Minister Scott Morrison says a difficult and dangerous Australian mission is underway to rescue Australians and other citizens from the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan capital.
A RAAF C-130 Hercules III military transport plane flew out of Kabul early Wednesday and landed in the United Arab Emirates at 10.45am Canberra time with 26 people on board, including Australian citizens, Afghan nationals with visas and one foreign official working for an international agency.
"Last evening, Australia's operation to commence evacuating Australians and visa holders, Afghan nationals and others, from Kabul commenced," Mr Morrison said.
"We're able to get our first flight in last night."
There have been chaotic and deadly scenes at Kabul's airport as desperate people attempt to leave the capital.
The Prime Minister said it was a difficult, complex and dangerous mission.
"This is not a simple process. It's very difficult for any Australians to imagine the sense of chaos and uncertainty that is existing across this country, the breakdown in formal communications, the ability to reach people," he told reporters. "And we are doing this directly ourselves."
With only 26 people on the Wednesday RAAF flight out of Afghanistan, Mr Morrison said it was the "first of what will be many flights".
"We will bring out as many people as we can, as quickly and safely as we can," Mr Morrison told reporters.
Key Australian personnel arrived on the flight to assist citizens, residents and visa holders, Afghan nationals leave Kabul, including officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Home Affairs and Defence.
Amid grave concerns the Taliban will hunt down and execute people who helped Australia and allies, Australia is to provide at least about 3000 humanitarian visas to Afghan nationals this year.
"That's more than double what we've been doing, and in some cases triple what we've been doing, in the current year," Mr Morrison said. "And we do believe we'll be able to do more than that."
The Prime Minister has described the situation in Afghanistan as "very disturbing".
The Afghan army was routed in a rapid Taliban advance this week, 20 years after a US-led invasion ousted the hardline Islamist group from power.
Asked whether Australian will recognise Taliban rule over Afghanistan, the Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne says trust needs to be earned:.
"No government has been formed," she said.
"It remains to be seen what form and membership that government has and I would also say a request for trust is usually met by an expectation that trust is earned."
Anyone evacuated from Afghanistan will get welfare and medical checks in the Emirates before heading to Australia.