Canadian army

Canada must ‘keep its promise’ to save remaining Afghans, say veterans – National

Veterans call on the government to rescue more Afghans who have helped the Canadian military as thousands remain stranded in the Taliban-ruled country.

To date, Canadian military veterans have successfully extracted nearly 300 Afghans, but they have said more than 10,000 remain in limbo.

The slowness of the government and the personal accounts of those who remain in Kabul have left veterans like the Canadian Major-General retired. David Fraser feels disappointed.

“I am disappointed with the lack of speed in getting people out of Afghanistan safely,” said Fraser, a former commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan.

“We need to know what the plan is to get these people out of the country. “

Global News reporters visited three shelters in Kabul last week, which house Afghans who have helped Canada since August. There, reporters overheard former employees of the Canadian military during its operation in Kandahar. Residents described their flight to the capital in August after learning the government would resettle them.

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Inside Kabul shelters where Afghans wait to be evacuated to Canada

But as the Taliban seized the country on August 15, Western countries rushed to rescue at-risk Afghans and their own citizens before the United States fully withdrawn from the region on August 31.

Canada ended its special military operation on August 26 and successfully pulled 3,700 people out of the country in just under two weeks. But thousands have been left behind. The advice for those who stayed was to “stay put” while officials explored other options.

The government continued to force Canadians and others out of the country on Allied flights prior to the US withdrawal, but evacuation efforts have since slowed. Qatar managed to get some out of the country on flights after the United States withdrew.

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Fears for the future of women in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan

Fears for the future of women in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan – October 15, 2021

With the resettlement process delayed and the threat of a humanitarian crisis, the Canadian nonprofit that runs the shelters, which house around 1,700 people, said it was short of money and should start closing shelters on November 5. .

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“These people are in this situation because they have supported Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, directly or indirectly to create a free and just society,” said Veteran Corey Shelson, an advocate for the evacuation of stranded Afghans.

“It is our responsibility to keep the promise we made to these people to bring them to Canada and give them the life we ​​all take for granted every day.”

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Sean Fraser, Canada’s new immigration minister, told reporters on Wednesday he would meet with his department to review details about how shelters work in Afghanistan, but his plan was to get as many people out as possible. as quickly as possible.

“If that means working with the groups that are on the ground today that put people in safe houses and bring them to transit points and get them out of Afghanistan, this is something I strongly support. interested in working with them, “he said.

“I’m looking forward to getting a little more information this afternoon so we can start to put the wheels in motion and put a plan in place to make it really happen.”

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Regarding this plan, Major-General. Fraser believes the government should explore ways to increase flight operations with international partners.

Afghanistan, being a landlocked country with mountainous regions, is a difficult country to get refugees out by land. Fraser said there were not only Taliban checkpoints but bandits patrolling some areas as well.

The country has several airports, for example in Kabul, Herat and Kandahar, which can be used as ports to exit refugees.

“Let’s avoid the humanitarian crisis by creating air options, even charters, to get them out and the international community can probably work together to do it more effectively,” Fraser said.

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What’s the next step for Afghan women?

What’s the next step for Afghan women? – October 9, 2021

Retired Canadian Major-General Denis Thompson, former commander of NATO Task Force Kandahar, told Global News that Canada may consider diplomatic missions to neighboring countries, in order to strike deals to relocate massively Afghans by air to their regions.

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Once the Afghans are safe, they can then be transferred to Canada.

“No one in the Canadian Armed Forces is going to fly in a hostile country, and no one is asking them to do so,” he said. “The best way to facilitate an airlift is to use contract air. “

Thompson noted that officials may have no choice but to speak to the Taliban.

“We do not recognize them, we are negotiating the safe departure of those who have supported Canada,” he said.

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Canada sends aid to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan ‘dilemma’ for leaders, experts say

As of Oct. 21, Canada had received 13,545 applications under its special immigration program for Afghans who assisted Canada, and had processed 9,460, according to the government site.

So far, 3,125 refugees have arrived in the country and 2,575 have settled in a community after the quarantine. Canada has increased its commitments to bring in 40,000 Afghans.

Taliban members and officials assured Global News in interviews that they would not retaliate against Afghans who worked for Canadian and international forces during the 20 years of conflict.

But many in Kabul remain skeptical as the Taliban continue to present to the world that this is a more moderate force.

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The United Nations said the Taliban had broken promises to let women continue their education and work, while the group’s foreign minister said they could not be expected to make any changes. overnight.

With that in mind, Major-General Fraser and Thompson said the government must act quickly to rescue more Afghans who have helped Canada.

“The big problem here is that there are still over 10,000 Afghans in Afghanistan. They are eligible for a program announced by the government, we have raised their expectations and we just have to act on it, ”said Thompson.

“It’s going to require a plan that the government organizes and shares in a transparent way with non-government groups who, quite frankly, have the same interest and don’t want to compromise any form of operational security. “

– With files from Stewart Bell, Jeff Semple and The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.