Flights will bring refugees to Canada, but number limited by Taliban resistance, says Justin Trudeau.
TRENTON, Canada (AA) – Canadian troops landed in Afghanistan on Thursday to co-ordinate efforts with allied forces and begin the evacuation of Afghans and their families who helped the military during its stay in the war-torn country.
“Canada has personnel on the ground now and we’ll have more personnel arriving later today to help with the processing [of refugees],” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters at an election campaign stop in Victoria, British Columbia.
He said two C-17 Globemaster planes will fly into Kabul to carry out refugees.
Canada has five of the hulking planes, which can each carry 600-plus passengers.
“We are going to be there with aircraft, with spaces on aircraft, to bring people to safety,” Trudeau said.
“But unless the Taliban shift their posture significantly, which is something the international community and Canada are working on, it is going to be very difficult to get many people out.”
In fact, Trudeau admitted that evacuating the thousands of Afghans he promised to safety in Canada would be “almost impossible in the coming weeks.”
The US, British and Americans are all ferrying out those who helped their militaries in Afghanistan, including interpreters, drivers and cooks. The Taliban has assumed control of the country, including the area around Kabul airport, where desperate Afghans are gathering to try to get on flights out.
While the Taliban are promising amnesty, the Afghans who aided foreign personnel during the years in the country believe the Taliban will hunt them down and kill them as traitors.
Trudeau and members of the Canadian Afghan community met Wednesday, along with Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan and the ministers of gender equality and immigration. Trudeau said he told the community members that Canada was doing everything in its power to get as many refugees and families out as possible.
“I can assure you that I and our ministers and our government is working extremely hard to ease all the barriers,” he stressed.