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Hundreds rally in Vancouver in support of Afghans amid Taliban takeover

Click to play video: 'Protests over crisis in Afghanistan' Protests over crisis in Afghanistan
There is growing outrage and fear over the crisis in Afghanistan after the country fell to the Taliban and the Canadian evacuation mission ended. Kamil Karamali has more on how the dire situation is prompting people around the world to hold protests – Aug 28, 2021

Hundreds of people gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery Saturday to support the people of Afghanistan and urge the Canadian government to do more for those left behind after the Taliban seized power.

The Vancouver event was held in tandem with similar rallies across the country, including Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal.

Read more: Canadians rally to raise awareness on Afghanistan crisis as feds end evacuations

Demonstrators say they want the international community to increase pressure on the Taliban to adhere to human rights, and to step up efforts to get people safely out of the country.

“All lives in Afghanistan are in danger right now,” organizer Ahmadwaly Yasin told Global News.

Click to play video: 'A B.C. woman’s fears for women and girls left behind in Afghanistan under Taliban rule' A B.C. woman’s fears for women and girls left behind in Afghanistan under Taliban rule
A B.C. woman’s fears for women and girls left behind in Afghanistan under Taliban rule – Aug 27, 2021

Since the collapse of Afghanistan’s government and the Taliban’s consolidation of power, Afghans in British Columbia have been sharing their fears of bloody retribution.

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Read more: ‘They’re not going to have mercy on our family’: Fear for women, girls left in Afghanistan

Many say they do not believe the Taliban has changed or will adhere to promises not to exact revenge on people who worked with the international coalition during the war.

The fate of women and girls, whose rights were severely curtailed under the last Taliban government and who were forced into marriages at young ages, is of particular concern.

Click to play video: 'The uncertain future of Afghan women and girls' The uncertain future of Afghan women and girls
The uncertain future of Afghan women and girls – Aug 27, 2021

Zarifa Joya, an Afghan-Canadian who said most of her relatives remain in Afghanistan, told Global News she’s worried sick.

“It’s been like 20 days, we can’t eat, we can’t sleep. There’s no taste to my food. When my kid comes home, he’s crying, I’m crying,” she said.

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Read more: ‘They tear at our souls’: Canada ends Kabul evacuation effort as many left behind

Another rally attendee, who asked for anonymity out of fear of putting family in Afghanistan at risk, shared a similar message.

“If the Taliban find out that a part of my family is translator with U.S. army, for sure they going to come and find my other brothers and other family and they’re not going to leave them alive,” he said.

Canada officially ended its evacuation efforts from Afghanistan on Thursday.

Canada pledged to take in 20,000 at-risk Afghans who had helped Canada during its military intervention, but officials said only 3,700 were transported out before airlifts stopped.

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