Sunday, January 23, 2022

Thousands of Afghans still searching for a way to Canada, and destitute families take last resort

A family of seven at a hotel in Kabul desperate to flee to Canada – just one family out of thousands still waiting to get out.

“See, my little baby son?” The father of the family told CTV News. “We live in this room, it’s winter, we don’t have a heater, look we live in this room.”

Prior to the Taliban takeover last summer, he was a businessman who served with the Canadian Armed Forces based in Kandahar. Now he and his family fear retaliation from the Taliban.

He says he received the visa from Ottawa more than four months ago, when the chaotic withdrawal of US forces unfolded and the Taliban took control.

World powers, including Canada, pledged to help allies and the most vulnerable.

But now he, and thousands of others, are still stranded, some with no passport, many with little money.

This, in the wake of the sudden withdrawal of foreign aid following the Taliban takeover, has worsened the humanitarian crisis in the country.

Sanctions have been eased and the United Nations has made an urgent appeal for $5 billion. Canada has pledged $56 million for this year.

Complicating the process of getting aid to those who need it, the Taliban said on Wednesday it wants a bigger role in aid delivery – but the United Nations has promised it will not fall into the hands of the regime.

People’s needs are so great, destitute families are making desperate choices.

He says that Ghulam Hazrat sold his kidney after trying to flee to Iran in search of a job, but was forced to return to his home village to feed his children.

Doctors have warned of the long-term health risks of increasing exercise.

But there are still organizations in Canada working to highlight the plight of Afghans.

“We can’t forget [the] “We owe these Afghans a debt,” Tim Ladler, founder and president of the Veterans Transition Network, told CTV News.

Ladler served in Afghanistan, and has worked tirelessly for months with other veterans to bring out former Afghan interpreters.

“We are working closely with the government and we understand how complex this issue is,” he said. “That being said, we still want to do more.”

Ladler says this is not the time for Canada to back down.

He said the government needed to fulfill its promise of bringing 40,000 Afghans to the country safely – but so far only 6,500 have landed.

With files from Alexandra May Jones of


Nation World News Desk
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