Yesterday, Canada revealed it will take in up to 20,000 Afghanistan refugees, including women leaders, government workers and others facing threats from the Taliban, as revolts rises across the country capturing major cities.
“The situation in Afghanistan is heartbreaking and Canada will not stand idly by,” Marco Mendicino, Immigration Minister told a news conference.
The refugees will include “particularly vulnerable” Afghans presently in the country or who’ve already escaped to neighboring states, which in addition to female leaders and government employees also includes human rights defenders, persecuted minorities and journalists.
Various planeloads of asylum-seekers departed with the first one landing Friday in Toronto, Mendicino said.
As the Taliban approached the capital, officials revealed that Canadian special forces form part of a contingency plan to airlift Canadian Embassy staff from Kabul, but details were not made available because of the sensitive nature of the security operation.
Earlier yesterday, many countries including Spain, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands declared the withdrawal of staff from their respective embassies.
Canada has said it is closely surveilling the situation in Afghanistan and working with its allies on the ground.
“Protecting the Canadian Embassy and our staff is our top priority,” Marc Garneau said.
He tweeted on Twitter that Canada “owes Afghans a debt of gratitude and we will continue our efforts to bring them to safety.”