Afghan safety needs to be guaranteed: Wong

Penny Wong says Australia has a commitment to protect Afghans targeted by Taliban forces.
Penny Wong says Australia has a commitment to protect Afghans targeted by Taliban forces.

Labor has urged the government to guarantee the safety of Afghans who worked alongside Australian troops, with many still stranded in Afghanistan following the fall of Kabul.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said Australia had a commitment to protect Afghans, with many being actively targeted by Taliban forces.

"We demonstrably didn't do enough earlier, and I wish we had," Senator Wong told ABC Radio National on Thursday.

"We had an overriding obligation."

The comments come following reports a former Afghan army officer who worked as an interpreter with the Australian Defence Force was executed by the Taliban.

His family had been waiting for a humanitarian visa to come to Australia at the time, and are now in hiding.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke previously said he didn't want to comment on the case directly, citing security concerns, but indicated the government was working to ensure the safety of Afghan nationals.

Senator Wong said she was seeking clarification on how many permanent visa holders were still stranded in Afghanistan.

"The first thing the government should do is be upfront with the Australian people," she said.

"Regrettably, the government didn't act with haste in the lead up to the fall of Kabul. They did in the last few days, but by then it was very, very dangerous."

A Senate committee was told last week more than 26,000 applications had been made to the federal government from Afghan nationals looking to flee the country.

Mr Hawke indicated changes could be made to the visa status of thousands of Afghans that were evacuated in August.

There were 4100 taken out on evacuation flights, two-thirds of whom were women and children.

Australian Associated Press