Ottawa — Hundreds of Canadian citizens, permanent residents and families remain in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Marc Garneau announced when the federal government announced plans to resettle 5,000 Afghanistan previously taken abroad by the United States.・ Garneau revealed on Tuesday.
“The main thing we needed to know was how many Canadians or permanent residents and family members were able to fly on some of our allies’ flights,” Garnot said at a virtual press conference. Told.
“And now we had the opportunity to see manifests from those other countries. We now estimate that there are approximately 1,250 Canadian citizens or permanent residents or families in Afghanistan.”
Comments ended a 20-year war that cost billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives, including more than 150 Canadian soldiers and civilians, after the withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan on Monday.
The United States and most Western nations are now abroad, and the fate of those left behind remains uncertain. This includes not only those identified by Garnot, but also hundreds of Afghans who previously worked with Canada and their families.
Neither Garnot nor the Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, who appeared with the Foreign Minister, had a clear answer.
Canada and other allies are pushing the Taliban to allow anyone with valid travel documents to leave Afghanistan, Garnot said.
The Taliban have already made such a promise, but “we judge them by their actions, not by their words,” Garnot said.
“Afghans with travel documents to other countries must be allowed to move safely and freely abroad without interference. Canada and its allies are solid in this regard. increase.”
With the end of the U.S. and ally evacuation flights from Kabul, Canadian veterans, refugee advocates, and others are following to protect hundreds of former interpreters, local staff, and their families who are stuck in the country: I am considering the steps.
That includes whether to get people to start dangerous trekking to neighboring Pakistan. There you can at least be safe from the Taliban and hopefully go to Canada.
According to Garnot, people have been warned of making dangerous trips to the Pakistani border due to security conditions while efforts are being made to reopen Kabul Airport. But he added that efforts are underway to help those who have been able to get out of Afghanistan.
“We are now promising to contact the countries adjacent to Afghanistan,” he said.
“We will talk to Pakistan and tell them that if someone arrives at that border or other neighboring countries, they want to facilitate their entry. And, of course, ours Embassy and consulate are waiting to process them to arrive in Canada. “
The Liberal government has been repeatedly criticized for not acting fast enough to save the Afghans who supported Canada during its military mission in Canada. The special immigration program announced last month has been plagued by bureaucratic and technical issues.
Mendicino defended the government’s response so far, hoping that Canadian immigration officials could leave even if they advertised the government’s plan to accept 5,000 Afghans evacuated from the United States. He states that he continues to process applications as quickly as possible.
These Afghans are now in a third country like Qatar and are part of the 20,000 Afghan refugees whose government has promised resettlement. These refugees are separate from former interpreters and families who are eligible for a special visa.
By Lee Berthiaume