Politics

Afghanistan's ambassador urges Canada to send more help to fleeing refugees

Afghanistan's ambassador is urging the Canadian government to send officials to bordering countries such as Pakistan to help refugees fleeing the Taliban get to Canada.

Official says thousands of applications are not being processed

The ambassador says increased pressure on the Taliban could help open the Kabul airport to more flights. (Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

Afghanistan's ambassador is urging the Canadian government to send officials to bordering countries such as Pakistan to help refugees fleeing the Taliban get to Canada.

Hassan Soroosh, Afghanistan's ambassador to Canada, also says he wants international pressure put on the Taliban to open its airports so more commercial flights can evacuate people desperate to escape.

He says thousands of Afghans at risk of Taliban persecution, including women leaders, have put their names forward to come to Canada but their applications are not yet being processed.

Soroosh suggests Canada should bolster diplomatic posts in Pakistan and other neighbouring countries to "expedite" the exodus. He says Canada should also send officials to help the United Nations process applications.

The ambassador urged Canada and other western countries to provide urgent food aid to Afghanistan to fend off a humanitarian tragedy this winter. He warns that without help, the country is facing a "catastrophe."

He warns that if poverty increases in Afghanistan, support could grow for the Islamic State militant group which is vying with the Taliban for control of parts of the country.

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