Thousands of Afghans Who Assisted Canadian Forces Still Struggling to Leave Afghanistan – National

The federal government must do more to help thousands of Afghans who have been aiding Canadian forces but are trapped in Afghanistan a year after the Taliban captured Kabul, aid groups and opposition parties say.

As the somber anniversary wrapped up on Monday, NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan warned at a press conference that Canada will have blood on its hands if it doesn’t take immediate action to help Afghans whose lives are in danger because they are Canadians Have helped.

She called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to step in to clean up the “mess” at immigration, which she said still hasn’t processed many applications to enter Canada.

“No more excuses,” Kwan said. “We don’t want to lose lives because if we do, blood will be on the hands of the Canadian government.”

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EXCLUSIVE: A Canadian Forces operative flees to Alberta after daughter is killed by Taliban

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Aman Lara, a Canadian nonprofit that works on the ground in Afghanistan to help people leave the country, said 8,000 Afghans who have been approved to enter Canada have not yet escaped. Many do not have passports or visas, and applying for documents from the Taliban could put them at risk.

Another 3,000 Afghans who have been helping the Canadian Armed Forces and government have not been sent to Canada, according to Aman Lara Executive Director Brian Macdonald.

Kwan said 100 security guards from Canada’s Afghan Embassy and a senior Afghan interpreter, who received a certificate of recognition for his services to Canada, were among those stranded.

An interpreter known only as “Mr. X” to avoid Taliban retaliation, told reporters at the press conference that he had fled to Pakistan but had to leave his family behind. He asked for help and said the Taliban had issued an arrest warrant for him.

“This is a matter of life and death,” he said, practically from Pakistan.

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Food insecurity in Afghanistan, affecting 6.6 million people since the Taliban takeover

Food insecurity in Afghanistan, affecting 6.6 million people since the Taliban takeover

Kwan said an Afghan man she was in contact with about his application to enter Canada is now missing.

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Wadood Dilsoz, founder of a group called Afghan Community Vancouver, said former embassy security guards told him the Canadians had promised them help but left them behind.

He said “their families and children are suffering every single moment” and are afraid of being killed or tortured.”

“I believe it is our moral obligation to help those who have helped us,” he added.

The NDP, Tories and Aman Lara called on Canada to expand the special immigration program for Afghans. It was set up to settle 18,000 former local Canadian Forces or government personnel, but will be wound down once capacity is reached.

“We are urging the Canadian government to keep the special immigration program open and indefinite until everyone who helped Canada comes out,” Macdonald said.

Canada reached an agreement with Pakistan in June that allows Afghans without full identity documents to fly from Pakistan to Canada for 60 days. Macdonald wants Canada to negotiate to keep that window open until all Afghans approved to enter Canada can come here.

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A year after Taliban rule, Afghans fear Canada left them behind

Official figures show that Canada’s resettlement efforts have fallen short of federal goals and efforts to help those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

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Canada pledged to relocate 40,000 Afghans and 17,300 arrived last year. Since January, about 71,800 Ukrainians have landed in Canada fleeing the Russian invasion of their country.

Fraser predicted in December it could take two years to fulfill the government’s promise to bring 40,000 Afghans to Canada.

Kwan said there is a “sharp difference” between the treatment of those fleeing the Taliban and those escaping the Russian invasion.

Vincent Hughes, a Fraser spokesman, said Afghan and Ukrainian immigration programs are very different, but Canada’s commitment to bring at least 40,000 vulnerable Afghans to Canada “is not wavering”.

He said Afghan refugees arriving via programs set up to bring them to Canada have a right to permanent residence, while it is believed many Ukrainians intend to return to Ukraine at some point.

Getting people out of Afghanistan and into Canada is a major challenge, he added, since Canada has no diplomatic presence there and does not recognize the Taliban government.

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“My son is dying before my eyes”: 1 year after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan

“My son is dying before my eyes”: 1 year after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan

In a joint statement on Sunday, Canada’s Foreign Affairs, Immigration, International Development and National Defense Ministers said: “We have witnessed the hardships of the Afghan people, some of whom have made harrowing journeys to flee the country and… countless others live in fear of persecution and retribution.”

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“Faced with a heartbreaking situation in Afghanistan, Canadians have opened their hearts to help people rebuild their lives, and more than 17,300 Afghans have arrived in Canada over the past year,” they said.

Conservative critics Jasraj Singh Hallan and Pierre Paul-Hus reiterated calls for the special immigration program to be extended.

In a statement, they said Afghans’ applications for immigration programs were lost between “endless backlogs”.

“Many applicants have only ever received automatic replies, while countless others have never received a response,” they said. “It is shameful that the Canadian government is treating Afghans who support our country this way while the Taliban are hunting them down for their service.”

Macdonald said the exodus to Canada is taking so long that Aman Lara can no longer afford to keep open the safe houses she has set up for Afghan interpreters, their families and others who have been helping Canada.

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A shipment of aid to Afghanistan was canceled by Canadian authorities due to anti-terror legislation

Meanwhile, aid organizations working in Afghanistan are raising the alarm that the country is in the midst of a serious humanitarian crisis and that 18.9 million people are suffering from acute hunger.

Asuntha Charles, national director of World Vision Afghanistan, said aid workers face acute poverty and malnutrition, including among children.

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Islamic Relief Canada’s Reyhana Patel said some families face a choice: marry off their young daughters or watch them starve.

The Afghan ambassador to Canada, who has no contact with the Taliban regime, said: “The experience of the past year in Afghanistan has been very painful and disturbing.”

Hassan Soroosh said the Taliban quickly reintroduced “repressive measures”, including restrictions on “almost every aspect of girls’ and women’s lives and rights”.

“The forced takeover by the Taliban has caused tremendous disruption to constitutional order, socio-economic development, public services and civil society activities,” he said.

The ambassador called on the international community to act with unity against the Taliban and to put more pressure on them “as they continue to persist in their hard-line approach and oppressive rule”.

© 2022 The Canadian Press Thousands of Afghans Who Assisted Canadian Forces Still Struggling to Leave Afghanistan – National


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