Italian PM vows to protect Afghans who assisted Italy's mission in Kabul

Italy evacuates Italian diplomats and their Afghan aides.

Italian prime minister Mario Draghi has committed to protecting Afghan citizens who have collaborated with Italy's mission in Afghanistan, after Taliban insurgents entered the capital Kabul at the weekend.

In a statement from Palazzo Chigi, the premier said that Italy is working with its European partners to find a solution to the crisis, which would "protect human rights, and in particular those of women."

A plane carrying Italian diplomats and their Afghan aides arrived in Rome's Fiumicino airport from Kabul on Monday afternoon, the first of other such flights by Italy's Air Force, according to the foreign ministry.

There were around 70 people aboard the military aircraft, part of an international airlift operation out of Kabul, including Italian ambassador Vittorio Sandalli, embassy staff, Italians living in Afghanistan and 19 Afghan citizens.

Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio will join his European counterparts in crisis talks on Tuesday, via videolink, on the situation in Afghanistan as European nations scramble to evacuate personnel from Kabul.

Evacuation efforts resumed early this morning after the runway at Kabul airport was cleared of thousands of people desperate to escape, a day after chaotic scenes left at least five people dead.

Last night US president Joe Biden robustly defended his decision to withdraw US forces, saying that it was time to leave after 20 years of conflict and that America's "mission was never supposed to be nation building."