Ottawa — The federal government hastened to resettle potentially thousands of Afghans who have worked with Canada at various times over the last two decades in response to weeks of pressure from Canadian veterans on Friday. Announced to track.
Still, the trio of ministers at hand to announce new measures includes the exact resettlement targets and when the Taliban’s endangered people arrive to assist Canada. , Was surprisingly downplayed about the details.
“For operational safety reasons, the exact timing of this operation is very sensitive,” said Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, who is leading the effort with Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan and Foreign Minister Marc Garneau. Stated.
“For the safety and security of the Afghans and the Canadian team already on the ground … we must protect the exact details of how this operation will be carried out and when it will begin. I can’t. “
Friday’s announcement followed growing concerns and frustration within Canada’s veterans community after the sudden withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in recent weeks boldly robbed the Taliban of a large part of the country.
This includes Kandahar, the southern state, where the Canadian Army spent the longest time on its 13-year mission in the country and fought the bloodiest battle since the Korean War.
Canada lost 158 soldiers and seven civilians in Afghanistan before the military withdrew in 2014, most of them in hostile action by the Taliban.
Veterans now say that the Afghans who supported them and their families faced the threat of retaliation as the Taliban expanded their reach and turned to accurate revenge on their collaborators.
Mendicino said the government has already put a team on the scene working to identify people at risk who have worked with Canada, and the Immigration Bureau will quickly track asylum claims from qualified people. Stated.
“Our focus is on those who have built important and lasting relationships with the Government of Canada,” he said.
“This includes, but is not limited to, interpreters who worked with the Canadian Armed Forces during combat missions, local staff currently or previously employed by the Canadian Embassy and their families. “
Canada previously resettled approximately 800 Afghan citizens and their families in two separate programs launched in 2008 and 2012 before the end of their military mission.
Mendicino refused to do anything concrete, but said the government expects to reach thousands this time.
By Lee Berthiaume