OTTAWA — Afghanistan’s ambassador is urging the Canadian government to send officials to bordering countries such as Pakistan to help refugees fleeing the Taliban get to Canada.
Hassan Soroosh, Afghanistan's ambassador to Canada, also wants international pressure to be put on the Taliban to open its airports so more commercial flights can evacuate people desperate to escape.
He says thousands of Afghans, at risk of Taliban persecution, including women leaders, have put their names forward to come to Canada but their applications are not yet being processed.
Soroosh suggests Canada should bolster diplomatic posts in Pakistan and other neighbouring countries to "expedite" the exodus. He says Canada should also send officials to help the United Nations process applications.
The ambassador urged Canada and other western countries to provide urgent food aid to Afghanistan, to fend off a humanitarian tragedy this winter. He warns that without help the country is facing a "catastrophe."
He warns that if poverty increases in Afghanistan, support could grow for the Islamic State militant group which is vying with the Taliban for control of parts of the country.
He says, even though Canada does not recognize the Taliban, the Canadian government can help the Afghan people through the UN or independent non-governmental organizations.
The ambassador is not in contact with the Taliban and he and his staff are being paid from the embassy’s reserves. He says he is staying on to represent the country and its people — not the Taliban regime.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2021.
The Canadian Press