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'We are waiting for death': Afghan army lawyer asks Canada for escape help

A former Canadian military advocate said that a group of Afghan lawyers and other staff who assisted him in his mission in Afghanistan were "left in the dark." Says the Canadian Immigration Department to act swiftly to help them escape the Taliban.

Through his year-long special immigration program for Afghans, who helped the Canadian government establish weeks ago , Canada is on the run. It's been a year since we started accepting Afghans . Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021

To date, approximately 17,170 Afghans have arrived in Canada. Last month, the liberal government closed the immigration program to new applicants, falling short of half its goal of bringing 40,000 Afghans to Canada. is.

"If [Canada] does not comply with my demands, I may lose my life as soon as possible," said one of the Afghan military prosecutors who applied for the program, CBC agreed not to specify.

Five men in military uniforms stand next to each other. Some of their faces are blurred out.
Moore in the center stands surrounded by his military colleagues in Afghanistan. Popal, who the CBC has agreed not to identify as he is currently hiding from the Taliban, stands to Moore's right. Mr. Popal told his CBC that he is struggling to feed his family while they are in hiding. (Submitted by Cory Moore)

"It was very heartbreaking when Popal asked me for help. Canadian forces deployed three times to Afghanistan.

Moore has helped 12 applicants and their families apply to the program, and the fate of these 66 individuals has been reported to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Service of Canada (IRCC). I am waiting to hear back from their applications submitted between September and December 2021.

The group includes military prosecutors, criminal investigators, Includes security guards, recruitment video participants, doctors and journalists. 

All 12 Afghans help strengthen the legal branch of the Afghan National Army. During Moore's mission to be involved in a variety of capacities, he launched a project to recruit Afghan law graduates, and created a recruitment video that was televised nationwide from 2012 to 2021.

As a result, eight female military lawyers were hired as prosecutors and military criminal investigators, in what Moore calls "historical precedent."

A man sits by a table and looks at the camera.
Moore intervened with several Afghan prosecutors and others during his final mission to strengthen the Afghan National Army's legal department. I have worked with the staff. He is helping 12 of them and their families escape the Taliban and immigrate to Canada. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

"It was a particularly dangerous time in Kabul with targets on their backs during the time we were doing the video shoot," he said. rice field. 

``They never left my side.

"We are desperate."

Popal, who appeared in that recruitment video, was a ten-year prosecutor in the Afghan Army. did.

Popal said via his WhatsApp video chat that he and his family were in "extreme danger" due to their involvement in the recruitment project.

Get me out of here.- Mariam , Afghan Army Lawyer

"We are getting desperate. We are just waiting to die," he said in Dari through an interpreter.

Popal, who cried during the conversation, said it had been a difficult year for his family. His children couldn't go to school, he couldn't go out in public, and he couldn't work, so it was difficult to put food on the table. The family faced a "serious threat," he said.

"The danger we face is because we helped Canadians."

Five women stand side by side with their faces blurred. Some are wearing military uniform.
Moore in Afghanistan five of his eight female military lawyers he recruited during his tenure in the United States. Maryam, who spoke with CBC on video chat, is in the middle. Her family is experiencing severe emotional stress from waiting to flee Afghanistan, she said. (Submitted by Cory Moore)

Her Maryam, who also agreed to protect her identity that the CBC , because she is also in hiding, is a member of Moore's Project. (Three of her lawyers have not yet been charged, Moore said.)

She has prosecuted Taliban members accused of infiltrating the Afghan National Army. She also criminally investigated a sexual assault case involving a member of the Afghan army who committed a crime against an army nurse.

"I am in danger because of my position," she said in Dari through her interpreter. 

Maryam spoke about the mental health impact the waiting time had on her and her family. 

"We all have some kind of psychological problem. We have psychological problems," she pleaded tearfully. } Please evacuate from here. we can't live here anymore 

Silence Division

Moore contacted her IRCC several times this spring regarding the status of 12 applications.

"I heard nothing," he said. "They explained that none of the 12 applicants participated in their system." [an] application. And if you don't receive such an email, the case is gone.

See | Moore shares how Afghans aided his mission: Former military attorney Corey Moore helped 12 Afghan military attorneys and other staff apply to a special one-year immigration program for Afghans in Canada. That program has since ended, but these families still have no answers.

To date, none of the 12 Afghans received an email from the IRCC regarding the status of his application. The government website instructs applicants to ``wait and hear from us'' once the application has been submitted. 

"They don't get anything. They're just left in the dark," said Moore.

"[For Canada] closing the door on a group of people who were so closely involved in helping my project succeed was incalculable."

Two men look at a laptop on a desk.
Moore sits next to Afghan interpreter Abdul Razak Khan. Khan interprets a conversation with his two lawyers, Popal and Mariam, who are now stranded in Afghanistan. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

Moore, speaking publicly, said that each applicant played an important role in supporting him and the Canadian military. I would like to emphasize that 

"There is no doubt that Afghanistan has improved by working with me," said Moore. "And frankly, I think Canada is a better place, with its amazing people." An immigration attorney at Bogosian Morais LLP, , is helping Moore with his case. Last week she resubmitted and updated all 12 applications.

Bogosian said that all 12 applicants met the government's eligibility requirements, which she called "very vague." He gives only two examples of who the government can apply for. An Afghan national or interpreter who worked for the Canadian Embassy.

The problem, according to Bogosian, is the "lack of transparency" in the program. The short schedule is also a problem, she added, as the one-year program has already expired.

"It's a slap in the face for those who actually helped the Canadian government," said Bogosian. "Why can't we help these individuals in return?"

A black laptop.
Afghan lawyer lives in hiding from Taliban Over a video chat, she spoke with the CBC about what it's like. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

She said most people who applied for this special program did not have the proper documents or passports, and it was difficult to obtain them. explained that they were struggling with because they were hiding. 

She has called on the Trudeau government not only to extend the deadline for applications, but also to increase the number of people Canada can accept. 

"40,000 applicants is not much considering Canada has been in Afghanistan for almost 15 years," Bogosian said.

The government's decision is "shameful," MP says

At a press conference last month, Conservative MP and IRCC shadow minister Jasraj Singh Hallan said: Called to reverse the Liberal government's decision-annual program "Shame".

The Conservative Party is among those calling on the government to reopen the special immigration program, and Harran is Canada's "moral responsibility." Support ," those who fought with our country.

"The government's decision to close [special programs] is unconscionable," Mr Harran said. Addressing a press conference at Parliament Her Hill on July 21, Singh Haran criticized the Liberal government's decision to close a special immigration program for Afghans. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

NDP immigration commentator Jenny Kwan said the government's claims that other avenues of immigration were open to Afghans were "fraudulent." “It is a target.”

"It's just a refusal," she said.

"as soon as possible."

The Office of Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, on behalf of the IRCC, said it could not comment on the cases of the 12 applicants for privacy reasons. Stated. 

 It has received 15,210 applications under its special program, and has approved about two-thirds of them to date

} "We are working to process applications as quickly as possible," wrote Minister spokesperson Aidan Strickland, noting that the Afghan resettlement initiative is a unique challenge. pointing out.

Mr Strickland stated that the eligibility requirements were intended to be "as comprehensive as possible" and included cooks, drivers, and others who assisted the Canadian military. Said staff could be included.

"We have accomplished a lot, but there is still work to be done," she wrote.

The Secretariat has not indicated whether the program will resume.