(Ottawa) An organization of retired military officers and diplomats is looking for volunteers to help welcome and integrate former Afghan interpreters and their families when they are evacuated to Canada.
This call to mobilize the Defense Societies Conference Institute comes at a time when anticipation of an announcement by the federal government confirms that it will offer to return dozens of Afghans threatened with reprisals by the Taliban for their work with the Canadian army. .
“We don’t know exactly what the needs are,” admits Jay Tybault, a retired lieutenant colonel who heads the institute. We’re just trying to take the initiative by mobilizing a group of volunteers who have been connected to this whole story in Afghanistan. ”
Afghan Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday that his government is working hard to approve a humanitarian immigration plan for his former Afghan aid workers. Ottawa faces mounting pressure from veterans worried about the fate that awaits their former colleagues.
“We are working with veterans, working with various organizations and with communities in Afghanistan to ensure their safety and to allow many of them and their families to come to Canada,” he said on the sidelines of an announcement in Hamilton.
“It’s something we take very seriously and work hard and hard,” he added.
However, the veterans’ fears have continued to grow in recent days, as the Taliban have advanced virtually everywhere in Afghanistan, including Kandahar Province, where Canada spent many years fighting them.
The lack of action increased frustration within the veterans community. Some say they have sent money and support to help interpreters, drivers and other staff move to safer places across the country.
One of those survivors is Najib, who fled Kandahar on Monday with his wife and four children with help from Canada. Documents provided to The Canadian Press show that he worked with NATO and a Canadian company in Kandahar.
“There are a lot of interpreters in every province, but Kandahar is the front line,” Najib described in an interview. I can’t tell you, where I am now because I’m safe. I don’t care about my condition. I have a bedroom. I’m safe. ”
The Canadian press agreed not to reveal Najib’s full name or whereabouts in order to ensure his safety and that of his family.
He says he tried to get help from the British government, but was turned down because he worked at the Kandahar base and not with NATO forces.
However, this distinction makes no difference to the Taliban who allegedly burned his house in December and sent him numerous threats. Thanks to a group of Canadians, he was finally able to escape from Kandahar.
Volunteers congregate across Canada and work tirelessly, remotely, to coordinate the movements of former interpreters in order to keep them out of the clutches of the Taliban. Anonymous donors fund operations while waiting for Ottawa to activate to get them out of the country.