Ottawa-Foreign Minister Mark Gano revealed on Tuesday that hundreds of Canadian citizens, permanent residents and family members are still in Afghanistan, and the federal government announced plans to resettle the 5,000 Afghans previously brought out of the country by the United States.
Gano said at the virtual press conference: “We need to figure out how many Canadian nationals or permanent residents and their family members can leave on some of our allies’ flights.”
“Now that we have the opportunity to look at the list of other countries, we estimate that there are currently approximately 1,250 Canadian citizens or permanent residents or family members in Afghanistan.”
The comment was issued after all U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan on Monday, ending a 20-year war that cost billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives, including more than 150 Canadian soldiers And civilians.
Since the United States and most Western countries have now left the country, the fate of those who remain is still uncertain. These include those identified by Garneau, as well as hundreds of Afghans who have worked with Canada and their families.
Neither Garneau nor Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, who appeared with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, had clear answers.
Gano said that Canada and other allies are pushing the Taliban to allow anyone with valid travel documents to leave Afghanistan, hoping that Kabul Airport will soon be reopened under civilian control.
Gano said that although the Taliban have made such a promise, “we will judge them based on their actions rather than their words.”
“Afghans holding travel documents to other countries must be allowed to leave the country safely and freely without interference. Canada and its allies are firm on this point.”
The end of the U.S. and Allied evacuation flights from Kabul has prompted Canadian veterans, refugee advocates and others to consider the next step to protect hundreds of former translators and local staff and their families who remain in the country.
This includes whether to start letting people venture to neighbouring Pakistan, where they can at least stay away from the Taliban and hope to reach Canada.
Garneau said that due to the security situation, people have been warned not to venture to the border with Pakistan and are working to reopen Kabul Airport. But he added that efforts are being made to help anyone who manages to leave Afghanistan.
He said: “At present, we are committed to maintaining contact with Afghanistan’s neighbors.”
“We will talk to Pakistan and tell them that if someone does arrive at the border or other neighboring countries, we want them to facilitate their entry. Of course, our embassies and consulates are waiting to process them in order to send them to Canada .”
The Liberal government has been criticized repeatedly for not acting quickly enough to save the Afghans who helped Canada during military missions in Canada. A special immigration plan announced last month has been plagued by bureaucratic and technical problems.
Mendicino defended the government’s response so far and stated that Canadian immigration officials will continue to process applications as soon as possible, hoping that people will leave, even though he touted the government’s plan to accept 5,000 Afghans evacuated from the United States
These Afghans are currently in third countries such as Qatar and are part of the 20,000 Afghan refugees the government has promised to resettle. These refugees are separated from former translators and family members who are eligible for special visas.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times