Afghan Montrealers are watching with horror as Taliban forces tighten their grip on that country.
The expats fear for the future of their home country and worry about the safety of loved ones in the face of what many are calling a humanitarian disaster.
“It’s painful,” she told Global News from her home in Brossard, south of Montreal. “It’s a lot a lot of pain that sometimes you can’t even express.”
Taliban forces have rapidly expanded control of her home country, seizing 14 of 34 provincial capitals since Aug. 6. More recently they took control of Kandahar and Herat, the country’s second and third largest cities.
Taliban captures Kandahar, Herat in Afghanistan blitz
Sultani, who is from Kabul, worries when that city will fall.
“Look what’s happening in Afghanistan,” she pointed out. “It’s so hard to see. Kids are dying; women are dying; people are dying; young girls, they are raped.”
More than 40,000 Canadian troops served in Afghanistan for more than a decade as part of a NATO mission. Canada ended its mission in 2014.
The United States announced its decision to pull out later this month after 20 years, having ousting the Taliban following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Sultani said the country improved with Canada’s help and now she wonders if it was all worth it.
“What they have done in the past 20-plus years, everything [now] went to zero,” she noted.
Ahmad Rayed, also from Kabul, but who now lives in the Montreal borough of Lachine, agrees.
He fears that life under the Taliban will return to what it was before they were removed.
“The women cannot go out without one of their family members,” he explained, “and they cannot continue their education after a certain age, maybe 8 or 10.”
Canada evacuating thousands of Afghans and their families amid Taliban push
More than 250,000 civilians have been forced from their homes since May, according to the United Nations.
Rayed wants Canada to help them and said he is helping to raise funds to support them.
Makai Aref, president of the Afghan Women’s Centre of Montreal, who left Kabul many years ago, is also asking the Canadian government to step in — but to resettle Afghan refugees in Canada, similar to what the government did for Syrian refugees.
“Now it’s time [for] Afghanistan,” she stressed. “It’s the same situation.”
Canada announced Friday that about 20,000 Afghans will be evacuated and resettled. The government is also preparing to send Canadian troops to help staff withdraw from Kabul.
Afghan-Canadians watch growing conflict in Afghanistan with unease
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