Afghan and American troops push back Canadian evacuees at Kabul airport – .

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Afghan and American troops push back Canadian evacuees at Kabul airport – .


Canadian evacuees told to ‘wear red’ at overwhelming airport checkpoint as allies execute armored and airborne escorts out of besieged city

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Canadian evacuees are turned back from Kabul airport by American and Afghan soldiers, although they hold valid travel documents allowing them to leave the besieged city.

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And while other countries send helicopters and armed escorts to rescue their citizens from the Taliban-controlled city, Global Affairs Canada advises evacuees to “wear red” and identify themselves as Canadians. has no influence on those responsible for guarding the world’s most dangerous airport. .

Granted three seats on a Canadian evacuation flight for himself, his disabled mother and teenage sister, Ottawa businessman Samim Iqbal tells the soleil so far he’s made the dangerous trip to the north gate of the US-controlled airport twice – and he’s still unable to pass the guards.

“It’s terrible,” he said,describing a chaotic scene where people with legitimate Canadian travel documents were turned away, and those who refused to leave were threatened and even shot by soldiers.

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“Please head to the NORTH GATE,” the Global Affairs email said. “Wear RED if you have it, and walk to the front of the crowd and identify yourself as CANADIAN. “

The experiences reported by Canadian evacuees in Kabul run counter to claims made earlier this week during Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s election campaign, who blamed Taliban interference – not bureaucracy – for the mission of frustrating and flabby rescue of Canada.

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As of Saturday, three Canadian C-17 cargo planes were on the ground in Kuwait, making twice daily flights to Kabul as part of Canada’s rescue mission.

Canada’s first airlift carried 175 fleeing Afghans and 13 foreign nationals out of the country on Thursday.

A second flight on Friday saw 106 more Afghans airlifted to a safe third country aboard a C-17 Globemaster transport plane, Canadian officials said on Saturday.

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Global News reported that RCAF crews were limited in the number they could carry by the seat belts available on the C-17s, which, using side folding seats and airliner seats mounted on pallet, are capable of carrying up to 188 people.

Members of the United States Air Mobility Command manage to cram up to 600 people per flight – a USAF C-17 earlier this week flew 640 people between Kabul and Qatar, setting a record for the largest number of people ever carried by the strategic Boeing-built airline.

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The situation outside the airport has become so dire that the US government is warning its citizens to stay away – advice that would leave stranded Canadians no way to escape if Canadian authorities follow suit.

Investigations by the soleil at Global Affairs Canada was not recognized.

On Friday, during a 50-kilometer drive to the airport, Iqbal – who now sports a beard on his normally clean-shaven face to avoid being beaten by Taliban fighters – was heartbroken when soldiers guarding the gate refused even to recognize their official documents from Global Affairs Canada and turned them into an overwhelming and chaotic crowd.

A man in his 20s, who tried to walk past the guards, was shot dead in front of Iqbal’s horrified mother.

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“They shot him in the throat,” Iqbal recalls.

Samim Iqbal with his son Omar, who is waiting at home in Ottawa for his father to return safe and sound from Kabul.
Samim Iqbal with his son Omar, who is waiting at home in Ottawa for his father to return safe and sound from Kabul. Photo by Submitted

By the time they made their second attempt on Saturday, the crowd outside the gate had grown to over 100,000 people, preventing them even from approaching.

On Saturday night, a defeated Iqbal said he had no choice but to try again once his mother felt up to it.

His ordeal parallels that of a Toronto couple – both Canadian citizens – who, like Iqbal, arrived in a much different city in June, where the mere idea of ​​a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan seemed ludicrous.

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“When my parents came out, it was absolute chaos,” their daughter told the soleil, asking for anonymity.

Her once powerful father has now shrunk from both age and cancer, her elderly parents have absolutely no ability to fight through crowds, she said, adding that most now wore red. and claimed to be Canadians.

“At one point a soldier pointed a gun at them and told them to turn around,” she said. “There are gunshots everywhere, and my mom said, ‘You know what? We are safer in our condo.

While both say they are grateful for the opportunity to escape Kabul, the documents and facilitation letters mean nothing without a safe way to escape – and they criticize Canadian authorities for their let it go attitude to the life and death situation unfolding at the north gate of the airport.

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The German Air Force on Twitter on Friday posted photos and videos showing Special Forces helicopters loaded onto Luftwaffe transport planes, with the intention of transporting evacuees from Kabul to pending flights and bypass the crush of humanity at the north gate.

Canada, meanwhile, still advises evacuees to wear red and persevere.

“Why can’t they be escorted like some other countries? Wondered the daughter of the Toronto couple. “It’s just very upsetting. “

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On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

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