Canada evacuates over one thousand from Afghanistan

Canada evacuates over one thousand from Afghanistan

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Parliament Hill - Canadian Parliament - July 1 2017– Photo Edition Mosaic Edward Akinwunmi
Parliament Hill - Canadian Parliament - July 1 2017– Photo Edition Mosaic Edward Akinwunmi

Canada has evacuated over one thousand individuals from Afghanistan

Despite the chaotic situation at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, about one thousand one hundred individuals have been evacuated by Canada out of Afghanistan.

Canadian forces have evacuated 12 flights with more in the horizon.

Agreement reached with the US and allies would allow Canada bound Afghans to board allied carriers, and in turn allied bound Afghans to board Canadian planes. The agreement would allow Canada to leverage more evacuation capacities.

Four cabinet members held a teleconference with the media Sunday morning on Canada’s evacuation of refugees from Afghanistan.

An Afghan refugee, who arrived two weeks ago, gave birth to a baby girl last Friday, as she was about to leave the mandatory pandemic quarantine.

Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada, IRCC, is cutting red tape to speed up the evacuation without compromising security, according to officials.

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship said biometric screening has been moved outside Afghanistan, to other countries where it is safe. The chaotic situation at the airport has made it difficult to get the evacuees into the airport. Though the biometric security screening is moved outside Afghanistan, Canada is taking steps to stop terrorists from making their way to Canada. Canadian officials in Afghanistan conduct an initial screening before anyone boards the plane. Security screening is completed safely and securely on landing.

The government is supporting Afghans in Canada who are trying to unite with their families. IRCC is processing family unification for citizens, permanent residents and protected persons with family members in Afghanistan. The agency is prioritizing asylum claims from Afghanistan. Those granted protected status would be able to sponsor their families.

Canada is in addition putting resources together to have a humanitarian pathway to welcome refugees who fled Afghanistan focusing on women, girls, journalists, human rights activists, targeted minorities including Afghan Sikhs, Hindus and Hazaras.

Those who left on their own can be processed under the special immigration measures. Canadians are urged to assist in the settlement of Afghan refugees with their usual generosity. Individuals can contribute in their own way as volunteers, donors, employers, neighbours and friends.

The Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program is another method to get involved.

The current situation brings back memories of what Afghanistan went through many years ago.

Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality Rural Economic Development promised to work with colleagues in Canada and abroad to create space for Afghan women, girls and minorities. The minister is the only Afghan Canadian in the cabinet. She stated that the voices of the vulnerable must be heard “as they are the most at risk from the ideology, behaviour of the Taliban.”

“The Taliban are the same Taliban 20 years ago,” she noted.

The security situation in Afghanistan is challenging, reiterated Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence. “The schedule for landing of aircraft has been very tight in order to evacuate as many people as possible,” said Harjit Sajjan.

Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs said the goal is to evacuate as many people as possible as long as the security would allow, whether in Afghanistan or in a third country for those who left on their own. Consular officials at Global Affairs Canada are working with counterparts in the National Defence and IRCC to respond to Canadian and Afghan citizens who need help.

More than 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces members served in Afghanistan during Canada’s 13-year mission.

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