Canada Why a retired general is desperate to rescue an Afghan interpreter from the Taliban
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In their absence, the Blue Jackets will be led by associate coach Pascal Vincent. The team is at home to face the New York Islanders Tuesday evening. © John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen and one of his assistants have entered COVID protocol, an increasingly rare occurrence in the NHL of late. Larsen, 44, was hired as head coach of the Blue Jackets last summer after serving previously in an assistant role and has posted a 32-29-5 record so far behind the bench.
Months after the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan, an interpreter who worked with Canadian soldiers is still in hiding, despite the efforts of a retired brigadier-general from Newfoundland to get him out.
James Camsell, who worked with the Afghan interpreter, said Tuesday that "Joe" — CBC News is using a pseudonym to protect his identity — is on a Taliban wanted list and has been in hiding with his family since NATO forces pulled out of Afghanistan in August.
"He's surviving but it's difficult. He has no money. Myself and some other former Canadian Armed Forces members who worked with him have sent him some money to help him out. He's been waiting all this time for a call from Canada, for some aid from Canada to get out of there."
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When CBC News spoke with Joe in September he was on the run,.
"I'm not staying in one location more than two or three hours. Three times they came to my house," he said at the time.
Joe had already been shot in the legs by the Taliban in an attempted assassination in 2010, punishment for helping the Canadian military in Afghanistan.
The Taliban is using brutal tactics to track him down.
"It's been quite rough, said Camsell, who speaks with Joe regularly.
"Joe and his family have had to switch apartments numerous times as the Taliban zeroes in on him. In early March, the Taliban actually surrounded a building he was living in and he had to hide in order to escape capture. His mother was also beaten up in late December, beaten severely, as they tried to find him."
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Last summer, people in Afghanistan clamoured to get out after the departure of NATO forces and the subsequent takeover of the country by the Taliban. Canada promised to help.
"We compare favourably and strongly to about just about any of our other allies in terms of how strongly and actively Canadians work to get people out of Afghanistan to safety," said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
But while Canada promised last summer to take in 40,000 Afghan nationals, so far it's brought in less than half of that number — about 15,000 people.
Camsell says he and former military colleagues have contacted Canadian officials on Joe's behalf dozens of times. He says Joe has also contacted Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada numerous times himself but so far the federal department hasn't helped Joe and his family of seven, or even acknowledged that a file has been opened on his case.
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Multiple Afghan interpreters and their families have told CBC News about being stuck in Islamabad, Pakistan, while the Canadian government has just brought over a 10,000 Afghans fleeing the Taliban."My family, my brother, his wife, their kids, they are hiding, because the Taliban are still looking for those people, like a search operation, or you can say like a revenge operation [against those who worked with Western forces]," said Naqubullah Muhammad Nasim.
"He's still not in the IRCC database, and that is the problem that we have," he said.
Camsell is emphatic that Canada has an obligation to protect Joe and must not abandon him.
"He helped us in that war immensely. You know, he was wounded. He's on a hit list for the Taliban for detainment and possibly execution," he said.
"We owe him a responsibility to to get him and his family out. And that's my biggest disappointment with the Canadian government, is that they have been unable to do that."
‘What a hypocrisy’: Afghan journalist wants Canada to reunite him with his family .
As Canada rushes to help Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion, many Afghan refugees worry the plight of their family members is being forgotten.Zahori moved to the United States for university in 2014 and crossed the border into Canada on a bicycle in 2016 to make a refugee claim after his father was kidnapped by the Taliban.