Mr Dutton said the risk of the local power industry or internet banking being shut down by overseas actors was very real, arguing the agreement with Britain and America would boost Australia’s chances to retaliate.
“We coordinated very closely with the US, in particular around the Isis-K threat, which we anticipated although tragically were not able to prevent, but it is certainly right to say we got our civilians out of the processing centre by Abbey gate, but it is just not true to suggest that other than securing our civilians inside the airport that we were pushing to leave the gate open.
“In fact, and let me just be clear about this, we were issuing changes to travel advice before the bomb attack took place and saying to people in the crowd, about which I was particularly concerned, that certainly UK nationals and anyone else should leave because of the risk.”
The British Ministry of Defence declined to respond to allegations they were to blame for keeping the gate open, but said in a statement: ‚Throughout Operation Pitting we have worked closely with the US to ensure the safe evacuation of thousands of people.
The Pentagon criticised the leaking of the call details reported in Politico, telling the news website: “This story is based on the unlawful disclosure of classified information and internal deliberations of a sensitive nature.
“As soon as we became aware of the material divulged to the reporter, we engaged Politico at the highest levels to prevent the publication of information that would put our troops and our operations at the airport at greater risk. We condemn the unlawful disclosure of classified information and oppose the publication of a story based on it while a dangerous operation is ongoing.”
Commanders calling in from Kabul relayed that the Abbey Gate, where American citizens had been told to gather in order to gain entrance to the airport, was “highest risk,” and detailed their plans to protect the airport.
“I don’t believe people get the incredible amount of risk on the ground,” Austin said, according to the classified notes.
On a separate call at 4 that afternoon, or 12:30 a.m. on Thursday in Kabul, the commanders detailed a plan to close Abbey Gate by Thursday afternoon Kabul time. But the Americans decided to keep the gate open longer than they wanted in order to allow their British allies, who had accelerated their withdrawal timeline, to continue evacuating their personnel, based at the nearby Baron Hotel.