Australia sends jets to fly personnel from Kabul

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia is sending three transport and air-to-air refueling jets with 250 military personnel to repatriate more than 130 Australians and their families from Afghanistan, officials said on Monday.

Australia is also working to evacuate an undisclosed number of refugees, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.

The support comes as the U.S. and other nations scramble to evacuate diplomats and Afghan employees and their families from Kabul. The Taliban a day earlier toppled the Western-backed government.

An Airbus A330 airliner modified for aerial refueling would support U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan later this week, Australia’s Defense Department said in a statement. Two C-17A Globemaster heavy transport aircraft would also be sent to the Middle East, the statement said.

Australia shut its Kabul embassy in May and withdrew the last of its troops from Afghanistan in June.

More than 39,000 Australian military personnel have served in Afghanistan since 2001, and 41 died there.