Ottawa: Many brave Afghans made incredible contributions to Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan—often at great personal risk.
While over 800 were able to resettle in Canada over the past decade, many are still in Afghanistan. With the situation in the country deteriorating rapidly, many have become Taliban targets due to their work.
The Government of Canada is seized with the urgency of the situation, and isworking quickly to help those who put themselves at great risk to help Canada. Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, have announced a special program to resettle the Afghans who were integral to Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan.
In recognition of their service to Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is implementing special immigration measures that will offer a path to protection in Canada for those at risk due to their work.
The work at Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and the Department of National Defence (DND) is well underway to identify and assist individuals eligible for resettlement to Canada.
Operational teams from IRCC, GAC and DND are currently on the ground in Afghanistan to support these essing timelines will be expedited. Applicants will also be subject to existing COVID-19 public health measures and safety protocols.
To protect their privacy, as well as the safety of extended family who may remain in Afghanistan, we will not disclose the identity of those who will be resettled, how they will be evacuated or when. For security reasons, we also will not comment on specific operational matters of our missions abroad.
Mendicino said: “So many Afghan citizens put themselves at risk to assist Canada, both during and after our military mission in Afghanistan. Now they face even greater threats from the Taliban, and we are doing everything possible to bring them to safety. Lives hang in the balance, which is why we’re taking timely and decisive action to support the Afghans who supported Canada, and offer them a future in this country. Canada will do right by those who did so much for us.”
Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affaris said: “Canada has a responsibility to protect the brave people in Afghanistan who have helped us carry out our mission over 20 years to advance human rights, education, health and security in their country. As violence spreads, ensuring the safety and security of all of our personnel, whether Canadian or Afghan, past or present, and the people who are helping us on the ground, is our top priority.”
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said: “I know first-hand about the important work of those who helped the Canadian Armed Forces while Canada was in Afghanistan. We owe it to those who served alongside our members in uniform to make sure that they and their families are safe. We will continue that work until the Afghans who were integral to our work in Afghanistan are safe here in Canada.”
Meanwhile, officials in Kabul said over 22,000 Afghan families have fled from their homes to escape fighting in the former Taliban bastion of Kandahar as authorities arrested four suspected insurgents over this weeks rocket attack on Kabul.
Four camps have been set up for displaced people, who are estimated to be about 154,000, Kabul Times reported. Since early May, violence has surged across Afghanistan, including Kandahar, after the insurgents launched a sweeping offensive just days after the US-led foreign forces began their final withdrawal.