Afghan interpreter who helped Canadian troops says life in danger because of Taliban – .

Afghan interpreter who helped Canadian troops says life in danger because of Taliban – .

TORONTO – Local interpreters who have worked with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan are asking for Canada’s help in immigrating after the withdrawal of the US military led to the resurgence of the Taliban.

Almost all of the US combat forces left Afghanistan before US President Joe Biden’s confirmation that the US military operation in the country will officially end on August 31, nearly 20 years after the Taliban pulled out of power in Kabul.

News of the departure of US troops and their overnight abandonment of Bagram Air Base prompted the Taliban to reappear and regain control of much of the territory, capturing Spin Boldak – a strategic border with Pakistan. , and the one that Canadians fought. and died to protect.

“We were there to do the fighting in the early stages to help stabilize the situation [and] we did it ”, ret. Major General David Fraser told CTV News. “We couldn’t stay there forever, as much as people wanted. “

Now that the Taliban are approaching Kabul and have passed the Panjwai district in Kandahar, Ottawa has confirmed that it will continue to send humanitarian and development aid to Afghanistan, but for interpreters left behind by the forces. Canada, NATO and the United States, time is running out to get them and their families to safety.


Obair says he served alongside the Canadian forces in Kandahar as an interpreter, often accompanying them on the front lines.

“The situation is very bad because the Taliban are getting closer day by day, they are so close to Kabul,” he said in a Skype interview with CTV News. “That’s why I want to come to Canada, I want to move from Afghanistan. I have my family here – a daughter, a son and my wife – my life is not good here because of the war.

The Canadian military will not confirm the identity of those who worked as interpreters. But Obair, who says he worked with Canadian troops for more than a year in 2009, showed CTV News photos, a letter of recommendation and certificates as proof.

Obair said threats faced by performers like him and his family continue to flow.

“The threats that we interpreters are getting from the Taliban in Afghanistan today, they say, ‘You helped Canadian troops, you helped foreign troops, you speak for us but in Islam there is no has no place for you, ”he said. . “They said they killed these people [other interpreters].  »

Obair said if the Taliban find out he worked as an interpreter they can find his address and they will kill him – he told CTV News he doesn’t leave his home much out of fear.


Many NATO allies like France and Germany have already started or completed evacuations of Afghans who assisted in various missions – Biden announced that US “Operation Allied Refuge” flights departing from Afghanistan during the week of July will be available for a special immigrant visa. applicants already in the process of applying for residency in the United States.

Canada, however, has not announced a similar venture.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said of Canada’s duty to interpreters abroad that Ottawa “will continue to work to ensure that we are on the right track.”

“I can assure you that our ministers are working on it,” he continued.

But critics say there is not enough federal action on the crisis.

Former Canadian majors general submitted an open letter to Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino last week, warning that 115 former performers, cultural advisers and other residents and their families will face retaliation from the Taliban for helping Canadian troops and diplomats.

They called on the government to speed up the immigration process to bring them and their families to Canada, a sentiment echoed by a letter-writing campaign from Canadian veterans who also want to see the government “do well.” those who helped troops overseas. contacted the immigration minister’s office with questions about Afghan interpreter relocation programs, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

However, a member of staff in the minister’s office told CTV News he knew this was “time sensitive” and was working as fast as possible to expedite and review a growing number of applications from current workers and alumni in Afghanistan seeking to come to Canada.

A previous statement on the subject sent on July 3 said the government “recognizes the important contributions of the courageous Afghans who worked for us during Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan.”

The statement reiterated that more than 800 Afghan nationals, including their family members, were resettled to Canada under the special immigration measure from 2009 to 2011 and a revised version of the program which began in 2012.

“Afghans who were not eligible under the special Afghan immigration measures may apply to immigrate to Canada under the existing provisions of the Immigration, Refugees and Protection Act,” the statement said, adding that those who do not meet the criteria may request humanitarian and humanitarian considerations, which are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

“We are closely monitoring the development of the security situation in Afghanistan,” the statement said.

But for Obair, delays and empty promises from the Canadian government are a life and death situation.

“They will kill me, they will be shot – me or my family members, which is why my life is in danger,” he said, adding that since the United States began to withdraw from the country , the situation has become “much worse”. “

“There is no place for us to live here. I am a responsible man – I care too much about my family, daughter, son and wife. They are innocent, ”Obair said. “I don’t want the Taliban to come and shoot us.


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