As last Canadian military flight is expected to leave Kabul on Thursday, Afghans call for help – .

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As last Canadian military flight is expected to leave Kabul on Thursday, Afghans call for help – .


TORONTO – As the Canadian military wraps up its mission at Kabul airport and the last Canadian flight is scheduled to depart on Thursday, the lifeline for thousands of Afghans with ties to Canada is receding.

Thousands of Afghans pleaded for one of the few remaining seats on flights from Afghanistan on Wednesday.

The Taliban now have a tight and brutal grip on the perimeter of the airport. Yet those with Canadian VISAs have continued to try to fight, while other countries have transported people to the gates.

Canada has flown over 2,700 people from Afghanistan, including some 1,500 in the past three days, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said on Wednesday.

“Canada has airlifted more than 2,700 people out of Kabul,” Mendicino said at a press briefing, noting that this figure includes Canadian nationals, refugees and other foreign nationals.

According to Mendicino, 436 people were evacuated on August 22, 506 on August 23 and 535, the most evacuees on a Canadian flight, yesterday.

“Although the situation is difficult, we remain determined to evacuate as many people as possible in the limited time remaining,” said Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan.

From his home office, Rob McCue organized his own rescue operation.

“My grandfather was a soldier, those are his service medals behind me,” McCue said.

McCue himself is a former soldier. He served in Afghanistan and lost friends on that battlefield.

Through British contacts, he helped his former interpreter to board a flight to Dubai.

“I’m so proud of myself that I was able to take my family to a safe base, a better world of course, and a better future,” the former performer told CTV News.

But so many more will never board planes from Afghanistan this week.

Somewhere in the crowd outside the Kabul airport there is another Canadian Forces interpreter. He is desperately trying to flee the country with his three children and his wife, who is nine months pregnant.

They have the Canadian papers they need, but they can’t get close enough to the doors to get through.

“They have been sitting outside the Kabul gate for almost four days now,” McCue said.

Another former interpreter told CTV News that trying to get to the airport gates with her five children was nearly impossible due to Taliban checkpoints and the harsh sun, wondering why buses or others transportation was not provided to the Canadian allies trapped in Afghanistan.

And cellphone videos on social media appear to show Afghans are not receiving any help from nearby Canadian soldiers.

In a video, the man filming said they had been waiting for three hours.

“We show our documents, we ask them at least to support us […] and they completely ignore our screams and screams, ”he said. “We have our VISAs, approved VISAs. “

Sajjan addressed clips like these on Wednesday, calling them “heartbreaking” but adding that it was important to look at the context and that different Canadian soldiers have different jobs at the airport.

“We have Canadian troops who need to provide security,” he said, adding that others will look for those who have papers for a flight to Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted on Wednesday that planes on the ground will not end Canada’s mission.

“Once this evacuation phase is over, we don’t stop our work,” he said. “We will continue with the international community to pressure the Taliban to ensure that people can leave the country. “

But how and when is the question.

Sajjan told a news briefing that the United States is providing security and leading the evacuation efforts, and therefore its forces will be the last to leave the region, hence the need for all Canadian flights to ‘have taken off in advance.

Canada is one of 13 countries involved in out-of-country air travel.

Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality, directly appealed to the Taliban at the press conference, passionately calling on them to allow Afghans to flee the country and respect the rights of others who remain after the ‘evacuation.

“We ask you to ensure the safe and secure passage of anyone in Afghanistan out of the country,” she said. “We call on you to immediately stop the violence, genocide, femicide, destruction of infrastructure, including heritage buildings. “

Monsef is herself a refugee born in Iran to Afghan parents at the height of the Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

“Rest assured, I continue to believe deeply that the Taliban is a terrorist organization,” she said.

It is not known whether his plea will be heard or not.

But the threat against the collaborators of the coalition forces was spelled out in black and white in the night letters sent by the Taliban.

These letters call on all residents of the region to help locate the American and Canadian soldiers, as well as “their families and relatives in order to punish the spies for their actions.”

It is clear that there will be little security for those who remain at the end of Canadian flights.

With files from the Canadian Press

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