TORONTO — Protesters in Toronto Saturday called on Canada to be a leader and help evacuate thousands of more people stuck in Afghanistan living under Taliban rule.
Hundreds of people from the GTA’s Afghan community gathered at Nathan Phillips Square in conjunction with other demonstrations happening in eight other countries and 20 cities.
Holding signs like ‘Say no to the Taliban’, organizers say Canada can and should do more to help those left behind as the window closes on American withdrawal — just two days away.
“Canada has a moral obligation as a founding father of the United Nations to uphold humanitarian rights,” Latifa, who asked her last name be withheld due to safety concerns, said.
“Why are we only looking at the mercy of the United States? We have powers with the G7 which combined is the largest military force, secure these airports.”
Neufar Noori is desperate for answers about her family members.
“It’s really hard. I can’t explain. I can’t talk,” she said, crying.
“I just want them to not give up on us. We will never forget what they have done. Please don’t give up on us. Please speed up the process.”
With Canada’s rescue operations over, Afghan-Canadians are petrified about what will happen to their loved ones.
Some that remain in Afghanistan are Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people who worked side-by-side with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) during the combat mission.
So far, the CAF has evacuated more than 3,700 people out of the country to safety.
Canada has also promised to accept 20,000 Afghan refugees under special immigration measures.
While the Taliban claims it will rule more moderately than in the past, those who previously suffered under the militants have little faith that this time it will be different.
Visiting from Vancouver, Shakila Zareen was shot by her husband while working with the Taliban. She has had 23 surgeries to heal her face.
“I want to speak up about my fellow Afghans. I’m so depressed. For me, it’s such a hard time especially for my mom, for my sister and all of my family in Afghanistan,” Zareen said.
The Taliban has said commercial flights can resume after the U.S. withdrawl, but it’s not clear if any airlines will be scheduled, given secuirity concerns.
Meanwhile, people in Canada are left fearing the worst, hoping somehow, someway, thousands struggling to leave can get out.
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