Afghanistan: Secure houses run out of money

TORONTO – Somewhere in Kabul, families in a network of safe houses are running out of time to find a new place to hide, with funds intended to support them dwindling.

Among them is a family of seven, including a newborn boy.

“We do not know how to do, what to do, how to take care of our children, where we hide our children, because now we already have no home,” the parents told CTV News in a telephone interview.

CTV News protects the family’s identity for security reasons.

The shrines were set up as a temporary measure to keep those working with Canada during its mission in Afghanistan safe from Taliban retaliation after Canada failed to evacuate thousands before the United States withdrew from Afghanistan in late August.

While some have fled into other neighboring countries over land or been able to fly into other countries en route to Canada, many are still trapped in Afghanistan while waiting for the papers to leave them, fearing for their lives.

As the evacuations for these families extend over months, groups supporting safe houses are running out of cash. That means these safe houses are now facing closure on Friday.

“To keep [a] safe house network underway, we’re talking 20 to $ 30,000 a day, and that’s just not possible at the pace that the government is processing applications, Corey Shelson, a veteran of the armed forces, told CTV News.

Veterans who worked with Afghan translators have raised $ 2.5 million to try to save them by collecting donations from Canadians, but with lives at stake, they are urging Ottawa to put in $ 5 million now to help them the ground of getting Afghans out safely.

“They spent a very long time volunteering to support Canada’s mission in Afghanistan and help people like me stay alive, and it is our duty now to get them out of the loop, get them to Canada so they can enjoy the the same freedoms that we do every single, “Shelson said.

The veterans’ group has been pushing to speed up the visa process to make it clear who is eligible to come to Canada.

As the dangers along routes out of Afghanistan escalate and the country goes deeper into crisis, they say there is an urgency to act.

“Five million dollars to potentially save the lives of 2,000 people, I think, is a reasonable investment,” retired May said. Quentin Innis to CTV News.

Those who are sheltering in safe houses right now fear it may be too late.

“It’s a really bad situation for us,” the parent told CTV News. “We keep praying that the Lord will help us. I hope someone will help us. “

Ottawa has said it is working with veterans and other groups to protect vulnerable Afghans. The goal is to get 40,000 to Canadian soil, but they have not set a timeline to achieve this.

With files from Alexandra Mae Jones


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