TORONTO – The U.S. is surpassing Canada in meeting its moral obligation to hire Afghan interpreters and other support staff from Afghanistan, says a military historian, as Ottawa has not yet issued a timeline for their plans.
The United States is in its final stages of withdrawing troops before the military operation is fully completed by August 31st. Biden Administration has begun relocation of hundreds of Afghan translators and their immediate families who have applied for a specialized visa in Fort Lee, a U.S. Army post in Virginia.
The first batch of relocation flights is expected to depart from Afghanistan in late July and when they land they will be provided with temporary accommodation and services by the Department of Defense at the request of the State Department. according to a spokesman.
A temporary safe haven outside Afghanistan is also being set up by the US for thousands of Afghan translators and their families who have not completed the visa and security clearance process.
While the Canadian government has repeatedly accepted a responsibility to help Afghan translators put their lives on the line alongside Canadian troops, their words have not yet materialized in action something military historian Howard Coombs finds hard to believe. .
When asked if the US is doing a better job of meeting the “moral obligation” to Afghan translators, his answer was blunt.
“Actually yes, I’m at a loss to see why we can not grow in a similar way Coombs, who has served twice in Afghanistan, told CTV News.
Word of the U.S. withdrawal has sparked a resurgence of the Taliban, who claim to control 80 percent of the country, and launched a new series of large-scale attacks.
Interpreters waiting for the word from Ottawa have prayed for help as the situation becomes more dangerous saying the Taliban have promised to follow them to help foreign forces.
If they take Kabul, that day will come and they will cut off our heads all, a translator told CTV News. They will kill us.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the Ottawa plan for Afghan translators while traveling to a factory in Brampton, Ont., On Monday, telling reporters that it is so important to be there for people who have put their lives at risk for support Canadians.
That is why we are working extremely hard and we have to say much faster, he continued.
But promises of speed are not enough to keep translators and their families safe.
If they catch me, they will kill me, they will kill my children and they will also kill my wife, said another translator.
With files from CTV National News LA office chief Tom Walters
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