Trudeau blames Taliban — not bureaucracy — for pace of evacuations from Afghanistan

·1 min read

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau is blaming Taliban checkpoints rather than government bureaucracy and delays for what many see as the slow pace of Canada’s effort to save former Afghan interpreters and their families.

The prime minister and Liberal leader made the comments during an election campaign event in Vancouver today as fears and frustrations mount over the fate of hundreds of Afghans at risk of Taliban retribution for their links to Canada.

Much of that anxiety has been linked to what Canadian veterans and advocacy groups working to evacuate those Afghans say are onerous paperwork requirements and a lack of communication from immigration officials.

But Trudeau said the main reason the handful of evacuation flights that have arrived in Canada from Afghanistan have been half full is because the Taliban are preventing people from reaching the Kabul airport.

Trudeau’s comments stand in contrast to former interpreters, veterans and others who say they have been waiting for information from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada on hundreds of applications and requests for help.

Andrew Rusk, the founder of a national advocacy campaign to bring interpreters and local staff to Canada, says his group has heard from dozens of Afghans who have submitted their paperwork and are waiting for any word on whether they can escape.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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