Nearly 5,000 Afghans evacuated by the Americans during the operations of the last days will be able to settle in Canada, confirmed the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marco Mendicino.
Ottawa said Tuesday morning that an agreement had been reached with the United States to allow the transfer of nationals to Canadian soil.
“The coalition has completed every withdrawal from Afghanistan, this marks the conclusion of a historic military evacuation, but not the end of our efforts to support the people of Afghanistan,” Minister Mendicino said at a press briefing .
The Canadian Armed Forces made their last flight from Kabul Airport on August 26, five days before the August 31 withdrawal deadline.
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Around 3,700 people, the majority of whom were refugees, were able to be evacuated from Afghanistan as the evacuation operation began. However, Canada intends to continue its efforts and intends to welcome up to 5,000 Afghan refugees evacuated by the United States.
These refugees will be accepted under Canada’s recently announced sponsorship and resettlement assistance programs aimed at helping 20,000 particularly vulnerable refugees, including persecuted Afghan minorities, women, human rights activists. , members of the LGBTQ community and journalists, Mendicino said.
“We are speeding up the process and issuing emergency visas that will remain valid for longer, as well as other documents in clear and understandable language to protect and support Afghan refugees traveling to Canada,” he added.
For his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marc Garneau, met with his colleagues from the G7, NATO, the European Union, Qatar and Turkey to secure the passage of refugees.
“We are looking for ways to reopen Kabul airport as soon as security can be restored, which is necessary both for evacuations and for access to humanitarian aid in this landlocked country,” he said. .
Last week, Canada increased humanitarian aid to Afghans by $ 50 million to facilitate the provision of food, health care and clean water.
An agreement with the Taliban
Over the weekend, Canada and its allies received confirmation that the Taliban will allow Afghan citizens with travel authorization to leave Afghanistan safely.
“We have a clear commitment from the Taliban and we will keep it. It goes without saying that things remain extremely volatile and we take nothing for granted. The Islamic State is still active in Afghanistan and its intention is to create a climate of terror and insecurity, ”continued Minister Mendicino.
More than 450 Afghans have now completed their quarantine and have been welcomed into 14 different communities across Canada.
“As always, refugees will continue to be matched with communities where support and infrastructure are already in place and easily accessible, such as family, schools, housing and language training,” he added. .