Veterans group winding down work helping Afghan interpreters get to Canada

·1 min read

OTTAWA — What began as a 30-day fundraising campaign to help Afghan interpreters flee the Taliban turned into a harrowing, chaotic and deeply frustrating eight-month effort for the Veterans Transition Network, and its executive director says it’s time for that to end.

The group started raising money last summer when the Taliban swept to power in Afghanistan, but executive director Oliver Thorne says no one anticipated how long it would be involved.

The network is ending its public fundraising on May 2, winding down operations over the next six months and returning its focus to mental health programming for Canadian veterans.

Non-governmental organizations led by veterans have been helping people who worked with the Canadian Armed Forces get out of Afghanistan and head to neighbouring countries, then on to Canada.

Thorne says “bureaucratic hoops” are making it difficult to help people get the proper paperwork and causing a bottleneck, and he’s calling on the federal government to resume consular services in Afghanistan.

The federal government has pledged to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees and so far more than 10,600 people have arrived in Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 18, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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