Help Afghanistan's neighbours to help refugees fleeing Taliban: UNHCR official

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OTTAWA — A top United Nations official says Canada and its international partners need to do more to strengthen Afghanistan's neighbours if they want to help vulnerable people flee the Taliban-controlled country.

Kelly Clements, the deputy UN High Commissioner for Refugees, tells The Canadian Press that Iran and Pakistan lack the funding to deal with the influx of Afghans who have tried to flee the country since the Taliban militia seized control in mid-August.

Many ex-interpreters and their families face retaliation from the Taliban because of their support of the NATO military mission that Canada, the United States and numerous other nations participated in during the last two decades.

Other vulnerable Afghans, women especially, face a dark future under the Taliban and are living in safe houses and hoping to find escape routes.

Canada has agreed to resettle as many as 40,000 Afghans but non-governmental organizations say funds are drying up for safe houses in Afghanistan, which could leave as many as 1,700 people in harms' way.

Clements had no comment on safe houses but said Canada's commitment to resettle Afghans is setting a strong example internationally.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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