Afghan Interpreters Are Concerned That Their Family Would be Forgotten by Canada.
Saifullah Mohammad Zahed got a letter from the Taliban while working as a sign language interpreter for Canadian forces in Kandahar province in late 2011.
When they informed him I was working with ‘infidels,’ they instructed him to stop. They threatened to murder me and my loved ones if I didn’t comply.
Shortly afterwards, after serving with Canadian and NATO troops in Kandahar, the area regarded as the cradle of the Taliban, Mr Zahed was allowed to go to Canada.
It wasn’t just a slap in the face; it was a serious threat, too.
The Taliban assassinated my father. In the years thereafter, my family has relocated often, relocating from one region to another. Every one of us has been a target for a long time now by the Taliban.
As an interpreter and other positions, Mr. Zahed is only one of many Afghans who have served with the Canadian military. Many people want to bring their families to Canada from Afghanistan, where they fear retaliation from the Taliban government that has won the war.
After the fall of Kabul in August of last year, the Canadian federal government pledged to take in up to 40,000 Afghan refugees and others in need. A total of 11,300 Afghans have landed in Canada as of April 21st.
It was a part of this endeavour that the government announced in November that Afghan interpreters’ extended families would be eligible for permanent immigration in Canada.
The government has been accused of imposing unnecessary and frequently duplicate bureaucratic barriers on family members, such as paperwork and biometrics, which causes delays.
Dozens of pages worth of essential documentation and few or no options for family members to leave Afghanistan to complete the requisite processes in safety were detailed by Afghan interpreters in Canada.
There hasn’t been a single Afghan who has come to Canada as a result of this program yet.
About 5,000 individuals have been represented by immigration critic Jenny Kwan, a member of the opposition New Democratic Party.
In order to complete the biometrics and other papers required to enter Canada, she said, many families currently living in Afghanistan lack the means to go to a third country where they may do it securely.
In order to get a passport, “they’ll have to travel to an office administered by the Taliban right now,” she claimed. To put it another way, “when the whole family comes up and says they need a passport to travel to Canada, alarm bells go off. “
He also said that the working lives of those remained in Afghanistan were at jeopardy every day that they stayed.