As the situation in Afghanistan worsens by the hour, family members on Canadian soil say they have been trying to find some way to make a difference, but they have received little support.
To raise awareness on a local level, a rally in solidarity with victims of Taliban control was held on the steps of city hall in Lethbridge on Monday night.
“My parents ran away from this situation 20 years ago, and here we are again, doing the same thing, letting history repeat itself,” said Hotira Balkhy.
The law student organized the gathering to show support and share a message condemning the Taliban.
“Our religion is a religion of peace and love and unity; what they portray is nothing like that. Our religion has the highest level of respect for women; what they portray is nothing like that,” she said.
Balkhy says while the Afghan community in Lethbridge is small, it’s also passionate in its plea for assistance.
For many of those at city hall Monday, the crisis might be physically far away but it hits home on multiple levels.
A woman, who Global News is keeping anonymous to protect the safety of family members still in Afghanistan, says she worries about them constantly.
“When I talk to my family and they tell me that they went out, I get chills from that. I don’t want them to go out. I don’t want them to do anything,” she said.
The woman says she remembers what a nightmare the situation was for her family when she lived in Afghanistan in the late nineties as a young child.
“I know the terror. I know how it feels to be there. I can imagine people walking with guns all over the streets, all over the city.”
She says with Canada’s federal election looming, she wants to see the emergency in Afghanistan treated as a priority by candidates.
“We want our problem and our crisis to be on the agenda for the Canadian election this year. We want our leaders to really pay attention,” she said.
Speakers on Monday outlined three things they would like to see happen on Canadian soil, including further expansion of the Afghan resettlement program, immediate humanitarian assistance and leaders engaging in productive diplomacy.