Canadian veterans group calls for government action after shooting death of Afghan girl

Click to play video: 'Death of 10-year-old Afghan girl raises questions about Canadian rescue efforts'
Death of 10-year-old Afghan girl raises questions about Canadian rescue efforts
Reaction is pouring in to a Global News story about Nazifa, the 10-year-old Afghan girl approved to come to Canada who was murdered by the Taliban. As Jeff Semple reports, her death has people wondering why she and her family were not rescued sooner – Dec 17, 2021

A Canadian veterans group urged the federal government Monday to send officials to Kabul to help resettle Afghan refugees after a 10-year-old girl was killed near a Taliban checkpoint.

Aman Lara said the shooting death of the girl, Nazifa, whose family was approved to come to Canada but lacked passports allowing them to leave Afghanistan, showed more had to be done.

“Approximately 50 percent of Afghans in the Aman Lara database who have been approved to come to Canada do not have the necessary documentation that would allow them to leave their country,” the group said.

“Only the Canadian government can resolve these issues by removing the barriers that put people like Nazifa and her family in danger.”

It called her death “a stark reminder that paperwork obstacles have put thousands of Afghans, like Nazifa, in real peril.”

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Read more: Girl shot dead by Taliban while family was preparing to flee to Canada

In its statement, Aman Lara called on the government to deploy Canadian officials to Kabul to conduct biometric and security screening of applicants.

The government should also look for alternative ways of approving Afghans for resettlement “to quickly expedite those at highest risk,” it said.

In addition, Ottawa should fund safe houses so applicants facing risks will be protected while they wait to get out of the country, Aman Lara said.

Nazifa, 10, was killed when the Taliban opened fire on a vehicle after it passed through a checkpoint.
Nazifa, 10, was killed when the Taliban opened fire on a vehicle after it passed through a checkpoint. Family Handout

Nazifa’s father worked for the Canadian Forces as a carpenter during the mission in Afghanistan, and said he feared for his safety after the Taliban took over the government.

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He said the family was in Kandahar trying to get passports so they could cross into a neighbouring country and get to Canada. Nazifa was a passenger in a car that came under fire after passing through a Taliban checkpoint, he said.

Last week, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser blamed the Taliban for the “unconscionable” killing, and recommitted to meeting the government’s target of resettling 40,000 Afghans.

His office said Monday he anticipated meeting that goal “over the next two years.”

“Since the onset of this crisis, we have been working to process applications as quickly as possible and get Afghan refugees to Canada as quickly as we can.”

As of Monday, 3,800 Afghans had arrived in Canada under a program for those who had worked for the Canadian Forces or otherwise helped the government in Afghanistan.

Another 2,080 had arrived under a humanitarian program.

But thousands remain in Afghanistan due to the suspension of evacuations, and border measures imposed by neighbouring countries.

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