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Afghan man pleads for refugee status after helping Canada during war

Click to play video: 'Former co-worker appealing to the Canadian government to help Afghan family escape'
Former co-worker appealing to the Canadian government to help Afghan family escape
WATCH: Afghan man pleads for refugee status after helping Canada during the war – Aug 26, 2021

Among the thousands of people left behind as Canada, the U.S. and other countries leave Afghanistan, is a man who worked for a company under contract with the Canadian Embassy in Kabul.

One of his former co-workers who is now living in Windsor, N.S., is appealing to the Canadian government to help his family escape the war-torn country that has been taken over again by the Taliban.

Global News is protecting the identity of the Afghan man who we’ll call Abdul — he, his wife and their four children are now trying to escape their home country as they hide from the Taliban, which Canada recognizes as a terrorist organization.

Media reports have emerged indicating Taliban fighters are now going door-to-door and hunting down a list of interpreters and others who have supported and helped countries like Canada and the U.S. during the long, drawn-out Afghan war.

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“That (work for the Canadian Embassy) ruined my life and not only my life, but also my family,” said Abdul, over WhatsApp from his hideout near the Kabul airport. “I have four kids, two boys and two girls and now their life is in jeopardy as well.”

Abdul worked as a supply manager and interpreter from 2014 to 2017 for an Afghan company that was subcontracted by the Canadian Embassy to service and maintain their fleet of armoured vehicles.

Click to play video: 'Afghanistan crisis: Two explosions outside Kabul airport, multiple people confirmed killed'
Afghanistan crisis: Two explosions outside Kabul airport, multiple people confirmed killed

His affiliation with and perceived support for the Canadian efforts in his home country now makes him a target of the Taliban.

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“It’s a very bad situation here in Kabul, especially for us, the people that were working with the ex-pats,” said Abdul.

“Basically the war left us behind with nothing and now we are fearing for our lives.”

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Nicole Wood and her husband worked with Abdul in Afghanistan and lived in the country from 2012 to 2016 before moving back to Canada. She says the federal government owes it to Abdul and his family to get them safely out of the country before it’s too late.

“It’s a terrible situation that we’ve left these people in and we can’t rescue everybody but we can certainly help the people that helped us,” said Wood.

On Thursday Canada ended its evacuation efforts in Afghanistan, as acting Chief of the Defence Staff. Gen. Wayne Eyre announced the military mission would cease despite some Canadians still trapped in the country now run by the Taliban.

It’s estimated that Canada helped evacuate roughly 3,700 individuals during the operation, although that number will be confirmed in the days to come, said Eyre.

The federal government offered Afghan interpreters who helped Canadian troops during the war a way out as refugees. Wood said she’s helped Abdul apply for the path to protection but has yet to receive any updates or confirmation on the application from the government’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada department.

“I’m hoping that he gets through based on the fact that he does have an association, an established association with the Canadian embassy,” said Wood. “But I’m hoping the criteria isn’t so strict that they omit him and they shouldn’t because any affiliation with a foreign entity makes you a target with the Taliban.”

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The situation at the Kabul airport has been chaotic said Abdul, saying he was close Thursday when a bomb attack went off.

“I can’t stay any longer in this place,” said Abdul. “We are planning tomorrow to move to another location and I have to keep doing this because there is no way to get out.”

For now, Abdul and Wood both say they will hold on to hope for a pathway out.

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