As Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban last year became clear, Canada promised to provide safe haven for 40,000 people.
But almost a year later, less than a third have arrived.
Hamid Paimani, a former translator and journalist, could not get an answer from Ottawa about where to apply for his relocation.
“I tried to contact them and only got an automatic reply,” Paimani told CTV National News. “And the numbers I tried to hit, they didn’t respond.”
He applied for a special immigration program for Afghans with ties to Canada that aims to resettle 18,000 people.
“It’s been more than eight months [since] I applied,” Paimani said, adding that he actually applied a month before the Taliban took over.
To date, 10,315 applications have been approved. But only 6,230 people came.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said of the situation on Thursday, “We find it very difficult to ensure proper security checks are carried out inside Afghanistan because of the Taliban,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said of the situation today. Thursday, calling it “utter cruelty” and “heartbreaking” that the Afghans have supported Canada today. Taliban targets in Afghanistan.
Paimani was able to leave Afghanistan and go to Pakistan, but he still doesn’t know when he will be liberated to go to Canada.
The federal Conservatives say Canada is making it too complicated by requiring that passports can only be issued by the Taliban and by mandating biometric checks that can’t be done in Afghanistan because Canada doesn’t have the consent. present there.
Jasraj Hallan, the Conservative immigration critic, said on Thursday, “The government has been sitting on their hands as they deal with many other issues, adding that the process of evacuating the Afghans used to be in the past. Canadian military support should begin before the Taliban regain power. “And here we are, and this is costing lives.”
Advocacy groups say the process is problematic.
“All the documents – it’s a giant Easter egg hunt for life or death for people to get permission to travel and once they get that, we’re good at transferring them out,” Brian Macdonald, with the nonprofit Aman Lara, told CTVNews.ca.
Fida Hussain, who worked as a translator for the Canadian military, has been waiting since last summer to travel to Canada with her family.
“If I go back to Afghanistan, I am 100% sure I will be executed by the Taliban,” he told CTV National News.
That’s the fear that haunts retired Major Paul Carroll as he helps Hussain navigate the immigration process.
Carroll told CTV National News: “The lack of clarity by IRCC as to where their records are, what the problem is, has been shocking.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser offered several solutions in a press conference on Thursday, but suggestive answers could come soon.
“We hope that we will be able to communicate with people about their specific condition within a few weeks,” says Fraser.
“We are doing everything we can to move people through the process, but I want to make sure that people are aware that even if everyone is approved, we are still dealing with a territory that the Taliban have taken control of.”
It wasn’t just the long wait that was the problem. The interpreters and others who helped Canada in the war faced retaliation from the Taliban as they waited for the green light to come to Canada.
It’s a trip that Aman Lara says it can organize within about 48 hours – but only if applicants can get all the elusive documents together.