Last Canadian flight takes off from Kabul, ending mission


Ottawa — Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan ended Thursday. Hours before a suicide bomber attacked a crowd at Kabul Airport, killing several US Marines and leaving an unknown number of Canadians and their families trapped.

The withdrawal occurred to allow Canada and its military allies to prepare for an imminent attack and allow US-led missions to finally meet the deadline for the sunrise of August 31st.

According to the Associated Press, U.S. officials said 11 U.S. Marine Corps and one Navy hospital corpsman were killed in an attack by a pair of suicide bombers and shooters in a crowd outside Kabul Airport. It is unknown how many other Americans were injured.

Canadian troops said on Twitter that an unknown number of Canadian troops remained behind to support the withdrawal of US troops, and all were “safe and explained” after the bombing on Thursday.

Canada’s departure, its fierce aftermath, and concerns about those left behind have exposed the raw emotional scars of tightly disconnected connections in a country that has long suffered. There, after the Taliban was routed in 2001, Canadian blood spilled with Western allies to help Afghanistan build a prosperous country. An estimated 47,000 or more Afghan civilians, and more than 66,000 Afghan military and police members are also at war.

“From our point of view, war is always chaotic and unpredictable, and hindsight is 2020. According to the information at the time, yes, I was surprised at the speed of the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul. And I’m sure a lot of ink will spill on this, “said General Wayne Eyre, Deputy Chief of Defense Staff.

Mr. Eyre feels guilty that Canadians were one of the last to leave, military personnel personally accepted the withdrawal, and many had to leave people behind. Said it would be.

He said Canada brought about 3,700 people from Afghanistan, which fell to the Taliban earlier this month.

Air said the airport was constantly under threat of attack and Canada and its allies acted brilliantly.

An hour after Air and other government officials finished a cool media briefing, the left-behind locals were named after the man who became Afghanistan’s first post-Taliban president 20 years ago. I could hear some explosions near Karzai International Airport.

“The situation in which members of our army are working was different from what we saw in decades, even during our previous mission in Afghanistan,” Yale said a few years ago. Said in an emotional briefing informed by his own service on a Canadian military mission.

“They witnessed horrific things. They face incredible danger. And the helplessness and guilt that results from having to leave people behind can be overwhelming. . “

General Kenneth Mackenzie, commander of the US Central Command, said the military is still trying to quantify the effects of Thursday’s attack. Despite the attack, evacuation efforts continued, he added.

“It would be difficult to overestimate the number of demands competing with the extraordinary challenges facing our troops on the ground,” Mackenzie said. The United States has attributed attacks to the Islamic State of Iraq, also known as ISIS-K, and the Afghan branch of Levant.

“The threat from ISIS is very real … we’ve seen real attacks actually appear here in the last few hours,” he said. “We believe it is their desire to continue these attacks, we look forward to them continuing, and we are doing everything we can to prepare for them.”

Shortly after the long-delayed Pentagon briefing ended Thursday, new reports of a third explosion began to be filtered out of Kabul.

Eyre said about 1,000 Afghans to Canada were airlifted from Kabul on Wednesday night, half by C-17 and half by Americans.

The federal government is still trying to determine how many Canadians may still remain in Afghanistan.

Hundreds of Canadians, permanent residents and their families left Kabul on Wednesday, said Cindy Termorschuisen, Deputy Minister of Global Affairs Canada for Consulate, Security and Emergency Management.

She said there were a large number of Canadians on flights from her department, looking at their numbers and flight manifests to “more clearly understand” the number of possible leftovers.

She said the government is aware of those who have reached third countries and that the entire network of foreign embassies and high commissioners in Canada is on the alert to track them down.

“We recognize that today’s announcement will be disastrous news for those who are still in Afghanistan and want to leave,” said Termorshuizen.

“If you need to move to a safer place for our fellow citizens who are still in Afghanistan, move with great care. Use your judgment and the best to do so. Determine your time and the safest means. Carefully assess your risks when taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of yourself and your family. “

Mr Eyre said Canadians had to consider whether all the efforts spent in Afghanistan were worth it, but Canadians made a difference in the lives of thousands of people.

“I wish I could stay longer and save everyone who was desperate to leave,” Eyre said.

“It’s really sad that we couldn’t do it. But the situation on the ground deteriorated rapidly. Now this is an extraordinary humanitarian crisis. But there is no mistake. This is the crisis of the Taliban’s creation. . “

McKenzie said he believed that evacuation efforts would continue even if the attacks continued.

“Whenever you plan and force the evacuation of such non-combatants, you expect to be attacked,” he said.

“We are ready to continue our mission … I think we can continue to carry out our mission even during such an attack.”

Daniel Mills, deputy minister of immigration in Canada, said the visa application for Afghan citizens who applied for it is still in process.

According to Mills, the ministry received 8,000 applications under a special program for Afghanistan and 2,600 of the people who made it from Afghanistan. But that does not mean that some of those applicants have already fled to a third country, so the rest are still trapped in the country.

“I would like to ensure that the IRCC has continued to work tirelessly to process all applications under our special immigration measures,” Mills said.

Mike Blanchefield

Canadian press