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Volunteers sought in anticipation of plan to evacuate, resettle Afghan interpreters

Last Updated Jul 20, 2021 at 11:24 am EDT

OTTAWA — An organization counting retired military officers and diplomats among its ranks is looking for volunteers to welcome and help integrate any former Afghan interpreters and their families who end up being evacuated to Canada.

The call to arms from the Conference of Defence Associations Institute comes in anticipation of the federal government rescuing dozens of Afghans who are now facing Taliban arrest or worse for having previously worked with Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the government is working furiously to approve such a humanitarian effort in the face of pressure from Canadian veterans concerned about the fate of their former Afghan colleagues.

Yet the government has so far failed to produce a plan in the face of Taliban advances across much of Afghanistan, including into the southern province of Kandahar where Canada spent years fighting the group.

That has led to mounting frustration, with some Canadian veterans and groups saying they have sent money and other support to help relocate former interpreters, drivers and others from Kandahar to safer parts of the country.

Those veterans say such measures are only temporary, however, and that the government needs to act now before it is too late.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2021.

The Canadian Press