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Afghanistan: Afghan families resort to final measures while awaiting escape

A family of seven reunites in a Kabul hotel, desperately seeking an escape to Canada – just one in thousands still waiting for a way out.

“My little baby, you see? The father told CTV News. “We live in this room, it’s winter, we have nothing no heating, see we live in this room.”

Prior to the Taliban takeover last summer, he was a merchant working with the Canadian Armed Forces at Base Kandahar. Now he and his family fear retaliation from the Taliban.

He says he received a VISA from Ottawa more than four months ago, as the chaotic withdrawal of US forces unfolded and the Taliban regained control.

World powers, including Canada, are committed to helping their allies and the most vulnerable.

But now he and tens of thousands of others are still trapped, some without passports, many with very little money.

This, as a humanitarian crisis worsens in the country, exacerbated by the sudden withdrawal of foreign aid after the Taliban takeover.

Restrictions have eased and the UN has issued an urgent appeal for $ 5 billion. Canada has pledged $ 56 million for this year.

To complicate the process of aid to those in need, the Taliban said on Wednesday they wanted a greater role in distributing aid – but the UN vowed it would not fall into their hands. of the plan.

The needs of the people are so great that poor families are making desperate choices.

Ghulam Hazrat sold his kidney after trying to flee Iran in search of work, but was forced to return to his home village to feed his children, he says.

Doctors have warned of the long-term health risks of the growing practice.

But there are still organizations in Canada working to keep the plight of Afghans in the spotlight.

“We cannot forget [the] debt we owe these Afghans, ”Tim Laidler, founder and president of Veterans Transition Network, told CTV News.

Laidler served in Afghanistan and worked tirelessly for months with other veterans to bring out former Afghan interpreters.

“We are working more closely with the government and we understand how complex this issue is,” he said. “That being said, we still want to do more.”

Laidler says it is not time for Canada to turn away.

The government must keep its promise to bring 40,000 Afghans to this country safely, he said – but so far only around 6,500 have disembarked.

With files from Alexandra Mae Jones of CTVNews.ca