Freedom getting closer for Afghan family with a Moosomin connection

October 13, 2021, 1:56 pm

The seven-month-old twins of the interpreter who is one step closer to making it to Canada with his family.

An Afghan interpreter who worked with World-Spectator editor Kevin Weedmark on a CIDA project in Afghanistan and his family are one step closer to freedom.

We will not publish the name of the interpreter or his family as most of the family remain in Afghanistan and all are in danger.

The Taliban has been seeking out those who co-operated with international efforts in Afghanistan, and some have been taken by the Taliban and have disappeared.

The World-Spectator’s interpreter managed to make it from Kabul to Islamabad, Pakistan to make contact with the Canadian High Commission while his family remains in Afghanistan. While he risked his life to get to Pakistan, he was able to meet with officials at the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad and his family, including infant twins, are in the process of getting the documents they need to travel out of Afghanistan.

They’re not out of the woods yet, they still have to make it to Canada safely, and every day they remain in the region they are in danger.

A letter from the government last week offering help also came with many warnings.

“Thank you for contacting the Government of Canada to request facilitation for your family to enter Pakistan,” the government wrote. “While we strongly advise against all movement toward the Pakistan-Afghanistan border because of the safety risks to you and your family, if you choose to take this journey, the High Commission of Canada in Islamabad must help you get the necessary letter from Pakistan’s Ministry of the Interior.

“In order to obtain the relevant letter from Pakistan’s Ministry of the Interior, we must provide the information above to the Government of Pakistan and a transportation service. The Government of Canada has no control over the use or distribution of your information by the Government of Pakistan. There may be personal risks to you and your family in disclosing the information above. The Government of Canada cannot, however, predict the consequences or personal risks you may face as a result.

“Please be aware that if you proceed with accessing border crossing services, you accept and assume all the risks associated including the risk of material loss or personal injury. You waive on your own behalf, all rights to take legal action against and release Her Majesty The Queen in right of Canada in respect of personal injury/loss/death that you may suffer arising out of the use of the services provided.

“Please be ready to travel with 12 hours’ notice. As the security situation remains volatile, we strongly encourage you to take precautions with any data stored on your electronic devices, particularly in relation to your communication with the Government of Canada, and to store only information (documents, contact information etc.) that is required to facilitate your travel to Canada.”

The process for this family has been ongoing since July. The World-Spectator interpreter and his family were cleared for travel by the Canadian Strategic Joint Command in early August, but the deteriorating situation on the ground as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban meant almost no Canadian military, embassy, NGO or media interpreters were able to make it onto flights out of Kabul.

Many interpreters are still on the ground in Kabul waiting for any word from the Canadian government.

“My interpreter is one of the lucky ones as he managed to escape Afghanistan and make contact with the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad. While it’s dangerous to get the rest of his family out, they want to do anything they can to make it to a country where they can be free and safe,” says Weedmark.

“A lot of people have helped all through this process, from looking up the files from the original CIDA project I worked on in Afghanistan to officials recently working to keep this family’s file moving forward. Every time there seems to be a delay or a snag, I reach out to Canadian officials, political leaders, people on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and this family’s case seems to move forward.

“And along with the help there have been many, many genuine expressions of concern and support. It has been a long road and there have been a lot of high points and some setbacks along the way, but sincere thanks to everyone who has done anything along the way to help!”

After the latest communication from the Canadian government, offering help but warning that the family is risking their lives by trying to leave Afghanistan, the World-Spectator’s interpreter commented, “It is not easy to leave Afghanistan for any other country, while the Taliban have the control here, but there is no way remaining, there is no other option except risking the dangers for a better future for my kids and family.”