Canada’s promise to resettle Afghans is falling far short
April 24, 2022
By Vancouver Sun |
Documentary filmmaker Alison MacLean is in an epic struggle to rescue the people who helped her during more than a decade of work in Afghanistan.
It turns out the biggest obstacle is Canada, even though Ottawa promised to resettle 40,000 Afghan interpreters, judges, journalists and human rights activists who are now being hunted by the Taliban.
Last fall as the Taliban stormed into Kabul, MacLean used her extensive network of contacts to help three families flee. The family of one of her “fixers” includes his wife and three children under seven years of age. The other fixer has his widowed mother and 11-year-old sister with him. The third family includes a women’s rights activist, her adult son and 14-year-old daughter.
Their journeys have included a terrifying trip from a safe house to the Kabul airport. Using her military contacts, MacLean secured seats for them on one of the final flights to the United States.
During the four hours they waited, trying to gain entry to the airport, they saw men and women being beaten. They described it to MacLean who remained on the phone the whole time, relaying to them the risk assessments being texted to her from military contacts.
The final text was stark: Get them out now. There is going to be another suicide bomber attack.
A prior attack had killed at least 183 people and injured more than 150 others.
They fled with the Taliban following them, but they managed to get to the first of a series of safe houses where they sheltered for nearly five months, while MacLean helped arrange for papers to get them out.
In January, they drove across Afghanistan through dozens of Taliban checkpoints before crossing the Iranian border on foot and then boarding a train for a 15-hour trip to Tehran.