Veterans, Afghan interpreters demand clarity and help as the Taliban threat grows

Ottawa-Afghanistan interpreters and Canadian veterans say last week that the Immigration Department has failed Afghanistan to work with Canada in a war-torn country, despite an announcement to urgently track their resettlement. say.

Rahim, who worked as an interpreter with Canadian soldiers via NATO in 2016-17 and whose name has not been revealed for safety reasons, has Taliban fighters punishing his father’s home on Monday as a punishment for Allied service. It is said to have been burned down.

He is staying with relatives in Afghanistan and, like the other two former interpreters already in Canada, fears the safety of his extended family as the Taliban occupy the country’s belt.

“It’s also very dangerous for them to live here,” Rahim said of his parents, sister-in-law, and four nephews and nieces aged 11 to 23.

“I’m sure they’ll take revenge on them if they catch someone in my family.”

Government officials told him that they had to submit documents of the destroyed house to prove that their parents were threatened, he said, but the property is now dominated by the Taliban. Located in the area where the area is located, it is virtually inaccessible to people on the run.

On Wednesday, the Immigration Bureau released an application to fill out within 72 hours, but the veterans’ group is eligible for resettlement of applicants’ brothers, parents and extended families under the threat of the Taliban. It is not clear if it is.

However, in an e-mail sent to an interpreter by the Canadian press, the federal government said the program applies only to “Afghans essential to Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan” and their families. ..

A family is defined as a spouse or common-law partner, a child under the age of 21, or an adult child who “has been heavily dependent on the financial support of the parent before the age of 22.”

“It’s not a way to draw a line about who the Taliban is and who isn’t,” said Andrew Rusk, co-founder of the advocacy group Not Left Behind.

“When you start thinking about these limits, these timelines, and these barriers, a significant amount of life is at stake. And moral leadership has not yet come from the government. It’s a veteran. It’s coming from the community, and I feel it’s not right, “said Rusk, the first Canadian female soldier whose sister died in combat.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday that the government’s priority would continue to support Afghan staff and their close relatives.

“But at the same time, we can emphasize that we continue to expand the family reunification program available to all immigrants and permanent residents to Canada, which we will continue to consider,” he said. I told Johns reporters. NL

Veteran Robin Rickers, who took three tours in Afghanistan between 2006 and 2010, said he and other active and former soldiers on newly released applications from immigrants, refugees and Canadian citizenship. Said it was flooded by email and phone.

Published in English, it requires up to 10 different document scans, has low literacy rates, and requires Adobe Acrobat in countries with unstable internet services.

“We are literally drowning,” Rickers said. “If we had contacted any of the individuals involved in this before we started this, we would have been able to guide them on how to build an orderly process that would not cause confusion in the field.”

Emily Simard, a spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, said the 72-hour application schedule was not “firm” and that submissions outside that period would continue to be processed.

“The requested response time reflects the urgency in the field to get as many applications as possible as soon as possible so that people can be kept safe,” she said in an email.

“We also hired support staff to help clients submit applications and request documents … This policy was developed to be as comprehensive as possible. rice field.”

New immigration measures first deployed by a trio of ministers on Friday within the Canadian veterans community after the sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in recent weeks boldly intensified the Taliban’s attack. Following rising concerns and frustration.

The newly occupied territory includes part of Kandahar, the southern province, where the Canadian Army spent the longest time on its 13-year mission and fought the bloodiest battle since the Korean War.

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.

“We now live in hell, which may have come from this world, or from another world,” said 2010 after serving as a Canadian Army interpreter from 2006 to 2009. Nuri, who arrived in Canada in the year, said.

He said three of his cousins ​​and his uncle were assassinated by the Taliban militants. His parents, four siblings and five sisters are still in Afghanistan, but are not eligible to join him in Canada under new measures.

Nuri, whose name has not been revealed for security reasons, said he has not been able to sleep properly since the recent Taliban attack on a police checkpoint within 100 meters of his family’s home.

“It was all night. My family couldn’t leave. They were just begging God for their protection, but no one could go there to protect them. I did, “he said.

“The Taliban know that our family has supported the Canadian Army.”

Immigration ministers have teams on the ground on Friday when the government is already working with Canada to identify at-risk people, and immigration authorities have applied for asylum from an estimated “thousands” of qualified people. He said he would track it quickly.

Mendicino also advised Afghans currently living in Canada to contact his office directly if they felt that their family members were at risk and eligible.

Former interpreters say they did exactly that, but they are met by answering machines, automated email responses, and lack of clarity in the standards when humans receive calls.

Kahn, a former Allied and Canadian Army interpreter in Afghanistan from 2008 to 2012, said his father was assassinated “for my work” in 2009.

“They kill my father, my brother, and if they can’t get close to me, they kill all the members of my family.”

Christopher Reynolds

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