Australian soldiers play football and cricket with Afghan children they rescued from the Taliban

Children rescued from war-torn Afghanistan have had a taste of freedom, playing cricket and soccer with Australian soldiers after their escape.

Australia and New Zealand have evacuated 4,000 people as part of rescue operations in the capital Kabul, including 1,200 who flew out on Wednesday night.

Heartwarming footage from last weekend shows evacuees making the most of their newfound freedoms as they play games with members of the Australian Defense Force.

Afghans were seen bowling to an Australian soldier during a cricket match while other children tested their rugby skills with ADF personnel.

Heartwarming footage has captured Afghan evacuees playing cricket with Australian soldiers

A youngster is seen throwing a football with a member of the Australian Defense Force

A youngster is seen throwing a football with a member of the Australian Defense Force

A little boy took on a soldier in a beanbag throw game while other youngsters ran around playing soccer.

It is not known where in Australia the images were taken.

The scenes are worlds away from the horror set in Kabul in the wake of the return of the Taliban.

Foreign Secretary Marise Payne on Thursday urged Australians in the country not to go to Kabul International Airport for fear of a possible terror attack.

“There is a persistent and very high threat of a terrorist attack. Do not travel to Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport,” Smartraveller advises.

Australia and New Zealand have evacuated about 4,000 people as part of rescue operations, including 1,200 who were flown from Kabul on Wednesday night

Australia and New Zealand have evacuated about 4,000 people as part of rescue operations, including 1,200 who were flown from Kabul on Wednesday night

Evacuees are seen taking advantage of their newfound freedoms after being rescued by Australian troops

Evacuees are seen taking advantage of their newfound freedoms after being rescued by Australian troops

“If you’re near the airport, go somewhere safe and wait for further advice.”

Similar advice has been given by the UK and US.

The previous advice for Australians and Afghans with visas was to travel to the airport and wait for an evacuation flight.

Ms Payne said some Afghan residents desperate to leave were forced to return to escape the violence unfolding near the airport.

“I’ve seen and heard reports of the attacks on women, attacks on children, threats at checkpoints, invasions of transports, where children and families have been threatened in those transports, while trying to get to the airport,” she said. .

‘The complexity of this is considerable. But we try to make contact as much as possible, have tried and will continue to do so.’

There are now more than 600 Afghan evacuees in Australia in quarantine at hotels across the country.

The Australian government on Thursday urged Australians in the country not to go to Kabul International Airport for fear of a possible terror attack

The Australian government on Thursday urged Australians in the country not to go to Kabul International Airport for fear of a possible terror attack

The number of people evacuated by Australian and New Zealand troops is “three times” more than expected, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

The evacuation operations are expected to end Tuesday, which is the deadline for the United States to leave the country completely.

“We will continue to focus on the safe evacuation from Afghanistan for as many Australians and visa holders as possible, and for as long as possible,” said Ms Payne.

“Access to Hamid Karzai International Airport is extremely limited, it is extremely challenging in terms of checkpoints and difficulties in those processes, especially due to restrictions imposed by the Taliban on the movement of Afghan nationals and this has been a difficult period for Australian officials.’

There are now more than 600 Afghan evacuees in Australia in quarantine at hotels across the country (Pictured Australian citizens and visa holders evacuated from Afghanistan arrive in Australia)

There are now more than 600 Afghan evacuees in Australia in quarantine at hotels across the country (Pictured Australian citizens and visa holders evacuated from Afghanistan arrive in Australia)

Who are the Taliban and what do they want?

The Taliban – “students” in the Pashto language – are extremist Islamist militants who want to impose their fundamentalist interpretation of religious law on Afghanistan.

The group has its origins in the US-backed mujahideen, radical Islamist guerrillas, who fought against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1970s and 1980s.

It is believed that the predominantly Pashtun movement first appeared in religious seminaries – mostly paid for with money from Saudi Arabia – which preached a hard form of Sunni Islam.

The Taliban’s promise – in the Pashtun areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan – was to restore peace and security and enforce their own strict version of Sharia, or Islamic law, once in power.

In September 1995 they captured the province of Herat, bordering Iran, and exactly one year later they captured the Afghan capital of Kabul, overthrowing the regime of President Burhanuddin Rabbani – one of the founders of the Afghan mujahideen who resisted the Soviet occupation.

In 1998, the Taliban controlled nearly 90 percent of Afghanistan.

Tired of infighting and corruption under the mujahideen, Afghans largely welcomed the Taliban in the early days of their power, but they also carried out controversial sentences in line with their extremist interpretation of Sharia, including public executions of convicted murderers and adulterers, and amputations for those found guilty of theft.

Men were made to grow long beards and women were forced to wear the all-covering burqa, a tent-like veil with a cloth grid over the eyes.

The Taliban also banned television, music and film and disapproved of girls aged eight and older from attending school. They were accused of various human rights and cultural violations, mainly because of their gender policies that discriminate against women.

From the age of eight, girls were not allowed to have direct contact with men other than a close ‘blood relative’, husband or in-laws.

Women were also not allowed to leave the house without a blood relative or without wearing a burqa, wearing high-heeled shoes in case a man was awakened by their footsteps, speaking loudly in public or letting a stranger hear their voice, standing on their balcony, being photographed or filmed and speaking on radio, television or at public gatherings of any kind.

The Taliban were removed from power in Afghanistan in 2001 by US-led forces, but have been operating in the background ever since.

One of the most high-profile and internationally condemned attacks by the Pakistani Taliban took place in October 2012, when schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head on her way home from a school exam in the town of Mingora in neighboring Pakistan.

The group has been on the offensive in recent months, consolidating its power earlier this month by taking the capital, Kabul, and proclaiming the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the office of ousted President Ashraf Ghani in the old presidential palace.

Earlier chilling reports trickling out of Kabul have claimed that Taliban gangs are hunting girls as young as 12 for sex slaves through the streets.

Militants reportedly went door to door to track down locals accused of aiding Western troops during the war in Afghanistan and the subsequent 20-year intervention by the US, Britain and Australia.

The fate of women’s rights in Afghanistan is now at stake as the notoriously misogynistic extremists regain control for the first time in nearly 20 years – despite the billions of dollars spent by the US and NATO to support the Afghan government’s security forces and a functioning infrastructure. to build.

It is feared that female Afghans are most at risk under the new government.

When the Islamists came to power in 1996 after the bloody civil war in the country, they imposed strict religious laws that cruelly and oppressed women and girls.

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