Hundreds of Calgarians protest international, Canadian response to Taliban takeover of Afghanistan

Click to play video: 'Calgary Afghan community calls on Canada, international community to intervene'
Calgary Afghan community calls on Canada, international community to intervene
Watch: Calgary’s Afghan community says Canada needs to do more when it comes to offering refuge for Afghans. As Christa Dao reports, the group says the 20,000 visas is not enough in a country of millions. – Aug 19, 2021

Cooler temperatures and rain were small inconveniences for the hundreds of Calgarians protesting the international response to the Taliban retaking Afghanistan after the planned withdrawal of U.S. and allied forces.

The march in front of Calgary city hall Thursday afternoon followed similar protests in Kabul and Jalalabad.

“We are urging our government to bring those people whose lives are now at risk, because there is no official government in Afghanistan right now,” Husna Alibik, VP external with Afghans YYC and protest organizer, told Global News. “There is no democracy.

“The Taliban have just taken justice into their own hands. And they’re killing people who speak up.”

Alibik said Canada’s Afghan diaspora are able to help with anyone coming from the south Asian country in the coming weeks.

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“We’re going to open our doors to our fellow Afghans and Afghan communities, and Afghan people whose lives are at risk,” Alibik said. “We are here to help.”

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While also calling on the Canadian government to issue more visas to Afghans and their families who worked directly with Canada or the Canadian Armed Forces, the Calgary protest hopes to raise awareness of the threat the Taliban present to the Afghan people.

“But not only that, also our own government here in Canada to help those families who are human rights activists, who are journalists, who have fought tooth and nail against the injustices and terrorist attacks of the Taliban.”

Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it will be “almost impossible” to get people out of Afghanistan in the coming weeks, as the Taliban is continuing to block access for Afghans hoping to leave the country.

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“Unless the Taliban shift their posture significantly, which is something the international community and Canada are working on, it is going to be very, very difficult to get many people out,” Trudeau, who is running for re-election, told reporters.

“It is an extremely difficult situation, but I can assure you that I, and our ministers, and our government is working extremely hard to ease all the barriers, whether they be around paperwork or bureaucratic, to ensure that people are getting out of there as quickly as possible and to safety,” Trudeau said.

Borrowing from Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Alibik also hopes to inspire more people to speak out against recent events unfolding in the South Asian country.

“We are urging everybody to break their silence, and to come out and support the Afghan community, because injustice in one area is a threat to justice everywhere.”

–with files from Christa Dao and Rachel Gilmore, Global News

A protest raising awareness of the fragile humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is staged in front of Calgary City Hall on Aug. 19, 2021. Global News

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