TORONTO: Thousands of Afghans fleeing the Taliban are desperate for some kind of lifeline that can protect them.
An estimated 1,700 men, women and children destined for Canada are currently held in safe homes across Afghanistan, where they fear for their lives after helping the Canadian Armed Forces in the Afghanistan War.
“If he finds me, they will kill us, because he knows about us,” said an Afghan man, who did not wish to be named for security reasons.
As he and thousands of others are pleading for help, Canada has few resources for disposal on and off the ground after the Canadian embassy suspended operations on August 15.
Veterans Transition Network (VTN), which is done Raising funds to help Afghan interpreters, says the money is running out and they have yet to receive any support from the federal government.
“We’ve raised $1.7 million privately, we’ve spent $1.4 million of that money,” said the retired Major-General. Dennis Thompson.
Thompson said that with the organization’s current burn rate, there are only a few weeks left to help before the money runs out.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said the agency is “in close contact” with VTN and “supports their efforts to protect vulnerable individuals in Afghanistan, including human rights defenders, female peacekeepers, former Canadian Armed Forces interpreters”. working to do.” Locally engaged employees. “
The Canadian government has also provided $27.3 million in “humanitarian aid” for Afghanistan in 2021.
For Bejan, who worked for a non-governmental organization affiliated with Canada, VTN was crucial to his escape from Afghanistan.
“They hold high human dignity and are giving us a lot of support,” he said.
Bejan and her family are now safe and in an isolated country, where her niece was born two days after crossing the border.
“We were in Kabul, we were counting to nine and a half, now we are 10 (people),” he said.
Canada is committed to welcoming 40,000 Afghans to the country. These are people and their loved ones who helped Canada during the Afghanistan War, including interpreters and other support staff.
“All the people that are trying to get out are the cream of Afghanistan’s crop and if we can get them here they will add a lot to this country,” Thompson said.
Global Affairs Canada would not disclose how many Afghans have been resettled in Canada, citing “security reasons”.
There is a glimmer of hope for those still stranded in Afghanistan, however, as the Taliban announced on Tuesday it would reopen its passport office, with plans to produce 6,000 passports per day.
With files from the Canadian Press