Six Afghan families with ties to Canada have been forcibly returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan, according to a Canadian veterans group.
John Feltham, an Afghanistan war veteran and program director of Aman Lala, a nonprofit organization that works to evacuate people from Afghanistan, said: “I am extremely concerned about Pakistan’s current stance in expelling Afghans.” “I’m working on it,” he said. crisis.
“We take them out of one hotspot and what we’re doing now is putting them into another hotspot.”
Feltham said the deportations highlight the urgent need for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to speed up the processing of paperwork for Afghans seeking to come to the country.
In late October, Pakistan began rounding up, detaining and deporting so-called Afghan illegal immigrants.
It’s unclear how many Afghans are trying to come to Canada under special immigration measures for former Canadian military and federal government employees. IRCC refuses to disclose the number, citing operational security.
Aman Lalla estimates that the organization has helped about 2,500 Afghans temporarily relocate to Pakistan while awaiting further action, with what it calls a “permanent relationship with the Canadian government.”
The group said it could not reveal the exact number of animals in the six families. The report said the United Nations estimates that the average Afghan household has eight people.
dropped at the border
CBC News spoke to a man who was arrested in Islamabad on Monday while running errands with his wife. Sanaullah Azizi said he and his wife were transported by bus for 17 hours with other migrants before being dropped off at the border with Afghanistan.
Azizi said he was in Pakistan seeking approval to immigrate to Canada based on the work of his father-in-law, a former interpreter in the Canadian Armed Forces.
IRCC is asking Afghans heading to Canada to immediately alert if they are detained. The ministry also suggests that migrants should show Pakistani police documents proving they are going to Canada and not be deported.
Azizi said he never had a chance.
“They immediately snatched my cell phone,” he told CBC News through an interpreter. He said the device was the only means of reaching the outside world and that all documents were loaded onto it.
He said the package was dropped off at the border and then returned. He said he and his wife have been hiding out in Afghanistan ever since.
IRCC is still developing further flights from Pakistan
Since Pakistan began its crackdown in early November, Canadian immigration officials have managed to bring Afghans into the country on two charter flights from Islamabad.
At a press conference on Friday, Immigration Minister Mark Miller told reporters the government was working to arrange more flights.
“It’s just day-to-day…but we’re again trying to exhaust all options to get this done as quickly as possible,” he said.
He acknowledged that deportations pose new challenges.
“Our operational capabilities in Afghanistan are extremely limited,” he said.
Azizi provided CBC News with a copy of the letter he received from Immigration Canada after he was able to contact them after being deported.
“We understand that you are currently back in Afghanistan and are facing challenges due to the security situation in the country,” the letter said. “We encourage you to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of you and your family.”
The letter asks Azizi to update him on any changes to his personal circumstances, contact information or location.
Aman Lalla said he is encouraging Afghans who have contacted the group and who have since been deported to contact the group so that it can work on their exit from Afghanistan.