Ottawa says 1,250 Canadians and family members still stranded in Afghanistan
Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau says about 1,250 Canadian nationals, permanent residents and family members are stranded in Afghanistan as Canada and its allies continue to put pressure on the Taliban to allow them safe passage out of the country.
Mr. Garneau and Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino held a news conference in Ottawa Tuesday to announce that Canada was accepting 5,000 Afghan refugees that are now in overcrowded U.S. bases in the Middle East and Europe.
Until now, Canada wasn’t certain how many Canadians have been left behind in Afghanistan because many boarded evacuation flights from other countries.
Since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban on Aug. 15, there was a panicked rush of Canadian expats and Afghanis, who worked for Canada’s military and diplomats, fleeing Afghanistan on rescue flights. Canada completed its last evacuation flight last Thursday and the U.S. pulled its forces out of Kabul airport on Monday.
“Now that we have had a chance to look at the manifests from those other countries, we estimate at the moment there are roughly 1,250 either Canadian citizens, permanent residents or family member that are in Afghanistan,” Mr. Garneau said.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said he is advising Canadians to stay in a safe location as negotiations continue with the Taliban to guaranteed that they are able to leave on civilian aircraft once Kabul airport is reopened.
“The situation is uncertain and we are trying very hard to get the Taliban to allow people to leave safely and we are also trying to get the airport reopened again,” he said.
Mr. Garneau said if Canadians wish to try to get out of the country through bordering nations, he said Ottawa has alerted its embassies and consulates to help process them so they can come to Canada.
Mr. Mendicino said Canada evacuated about 3,700 people since Aug. 4, of which about 2,000 are former Afghanis who helped the Canadian military and diplomats, including translators, fixers and support staff and their families.