Government departments in charge of Australia's involvement in evacuating people from Afghanistan have revealed no master list has been made to identify how many citizens, permanent residents and visa holders have been left stranded.
In a public Senate hearing on Monday, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Defence Force and Home Affairs were unable to confirm the total number of people left behind following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, a number which other coalition countries have made available.
Home Affairs also revealed in the seven weeks since the crisis, more than 26,000 visa applications had been lodged by Afghans, with the majority of claims from people seeking protection on humanitarian grounds.
Following questions from Labor senator Penny Wong, DFAT deputy secretary Simon Newnham confirmed since October 1, 129 Australian citizens and 157 permanent residents had registered with the department for assistance to leave the country.
Ms Wong vented frustration as to why all three departments did not come prepared to fully answer questions on the timeline of the deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan, particularly around the decision to close the embassy in May, and whether any consideration was made regarding consular assistance for Afghan visa holders who had assisted Australian forces over the past two decades.
"I don't understand why the United Kingdom and the United States can both provide information at least of estimates and our government has seemed to take an oath of secrecy about this," Ms Wong said in reference to the number of Australians and visa holders stuck in Afghanistan.
DFAT acknowledged President Joe Biden's announcement in April regarding the withdrawal of US troops had changed the security situation of the Kabul green zone and was a factor in the decision to close the embassy.
The Department of Home Affairs said it did not have a total number as to how many Afghans holding Australian visas have been unable to evacuate from the country.
In August, the Australian government announced an initial 3000 humanitarian places would be allocated to Afghan nationals within Australia's 13,750 annual program.
It comes as advocates told the committee that Australia also had a responsibility to ensure the safety of local Afghans employed at its embassy in Kabul who have been left behind
Humanitarian advocate Dr Kay Danes from GAP Veterans and Legal Services urged efforts to be made to grant visas to local employees.
Dr Danes had been involved in efforts in securing visas for Afghan workers employed by Australia in the aftermath of the withdrawal.
"The Australian government ... had a responsibility to alert the former employees of the Australian embassy contract partners to ensure their employees should get their families to safety," Dr Danes said.
"There was sufficient time before Kabul fell in August for those embassy guards to secure documentation or secure visas when the embassies were still open to allow them an opportunity to evacuate."
DFAT officials told the committee that of the 4100 people that Australia evacuated from Afghanistan, two-thirds were women and children.
Australia's embassy in Kabul was formally closed on May 28, with the country coming back under control of the Taliban in August.
Dr Danes told the inquiry of some former guards with the Australian embassy who were unable to be evacuated to Australia, and having to be hidden from the Taliban due to their previous work.
"We had one guard only a day or two ago beaten up by Taliban. His mother, thank God, saved him, bless her. She was hanging on to him and wouldn't let (the Taliban) take him away from the house," she said.
Due to the vast number of people looking to flee the country and the paperwork required, the advocate said the group's team had to process 10 years worth of data in just two weeks.
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