Global News, April 2022
Habib Zahori is used to telling other people’s stories. He’s an Afghan journalist who lives in Ottawa and worked for The Washington Post and New York Times in Afghanistan. Zahori moved to the United States for university in 2014 and crossed the border into Canada on a bicycle in 2016 to make a refugee claim after his father was kidnapped by the Taliban. Now he’s trying to reunite with his younger brother and sisters who frantically escaped Kabul International Airport last August when the Taliban seized control of the country. They’re living in the Netherlands. “I am a man who lives two lives,” Zahori said. “I am here physically, and mentally I am with my family. I think about them all the time.”
Canada, like many Western nations, has committed to helping people fleeing Afghanistan because they fear the Taliban. This includes people who worked with the Canadian military following the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to permanently resettle 40,000 Afghans in Canada. As of mid-April, about 10,000 people have arrived in Canada. The slow pace of assistance has disturbed many Afghans. On Monday, a group of interpreters who worked with the Canadian military accused the government of making “fake promises.” They told a special parliamentary committee on Afghanistan that their family members, many of whom are stuck overseas because of onerous paperwork, should be treated with the same level of urgency as Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.
“I appreciate what is being done for Ukrainians, (but) we want to be treated the same,” said Safiullah Mohammad Zahed.