(Ottawa) Access to Kabul Airport is the main obstacle facing Canadian soldiers trying to evacuate as many Canadians and Afghans who have supported the Canadian forces in Afghanistan as possible.
Posted on Aug 21, 2021 at 12:11 PM Updated at 1:09 PM
The situation around the airport in the Afghan capital is “chaotic” and “fragile”, repeated high-ranking federal officials involved in the evacuation during a technical briefing on Saturday morning.
“Right now the main obstacle is access to the airport. We know that just getting there is extremely dangerous. The situation on the ground is difficult, ”said an unidentifiable official from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
The Canadian Armed Forces evacuated 106 Afghans aboard a C-177 Globemaster on Friday. You were taken to a third country classified as safe. It was Canada’s second flight from Kabul since the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban at the weekend, which destabilized the country and created uncertainty.
On a first flight last Thursday, 175 Afghans and 13 foreigners were evacuated.
All Afghans were interpreters and other workers who supported Canada’s military and diplomatic efforts in this war-torn country. Afghans flying Thursday are destined for other countries while Afghans will settle in Canada on Friday, officials said, noting the effort is part of Canada’s pledge to relocate 20,000 refugees.
Around 1,000 Afghan refugees have already arrived in Canada, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino reported on Friday. The number of applications for the special resettlement program in the country is around 6,000, the senior IRCC official said.
Immigration officers work remotely from Ottawa and the Middle East to process applications from Afghans trying to flee to Canada.
The government has announced that it will not require Afghan passengers to have a passport or a negative COVID-19 test and that a secure third country will take care of their biometric assessment. There they will receive their first or second vaccination dose. After two weeks, if your COVID-19 test result is negative, you can travel to Canada. Global Affairs Canada staff will be in direct contact with applicants in Kabul via email and mobile phone to gather information about their application and notify them when they can try to get to the airport. Officials admitted that some Afghans scheduled for Friday’s flight were unable to reach the airport, but their advice was to keep trying and, if successful, be evacuated by air.
Kabul airport remains safe, but the surrounding area carries more risks, said a national defense official who spoke of a “dangerous mission”.
Evacuation operations will continue as long as the situation is reasonably safe, he added. The teams have little time to proceed with the embarkation as they operate “in extremis,” the senior official explained.