A Winnipeg man whose family has been stuck in Afghanistan for over a month says they’re scared and worried, and just want to come home.
“My mom was pretty stressed on the phone, saying she doesn’t know how long this is going to last,” said Hameid.
CBC is only using his first name because of concerns for the safety of his parents and three sisters, who are currently in Afghanistan.
“My siblings have education that they’re missing out on,” he said. “My sister has a full-time job that she went to school for.”
Hameid said his parents and sisters travelled from Winnipeg to Afghanistan for a family wedding and visit in July.
Their flight home was delayed around the time the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last month, he said.
Now, they’re waiting to hear when they’ll get a flight out of the country, while Hameid and his two brothers are in Winnipeg, unsure when they’ll be reunited with their family.
“I never imagined I’d be in this situation,” he said. “I certainly never imagined that I’d have to fight this hard to have … our people’s voices heard.”
Hameid said his sisters are Canadian citizens and his parents are permanent residents of Canada.
His parents talked for years about wanting to visit Afghanistan, but this is the first time they had returned in nearly two decades, he said.
“Everything went down the drain, like, within two weeks of being out there.”
Global Affairs promises help for citizens, residents
The Taliban reclaimed power in Afghanistan last month, as the United States completed the final withdrawal of its troops.
Thousands of people desperate to flee Taliban rule crowded the airport in Kabul, hoping to get on an evacuation flight out of the country.
A statement from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada dated Sept. 3, said at that point, Canada had evacuated more than 3,700 people from Afghanistan.
Since then dozens of Canadian citizens have been on flights out of Afghanistan, according to updates from Canada’s foreign affairs minister.
In an email Wednesday, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said the department’s priority is “to work with our allies to help Canadian citizens, permanent residents and vulnerable Afghans who want to leave Afghanistan, do so safely.”
The statement said as of Wednesday, 953 Canadian citizens, permanent residents or family members had left Afghanistan since mid-August.
“We will not stop before we evacuate remaining Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their families and the vulnerable Afghans who supported our work in Afghanistan who want to leave,” the spokesperson said.
‘Nobody should be left behind’
While Hameid said he’s grateful for the steps that have been taken so far, he doesn’t think the Canadian government is doing enough to get people out of Afghanistan and back to Canada.
“As I’ve said before, they need to get boots on ground [and] evacuate,” he said.
“It’s just not the right time for waiting.”
He doesn’t even like to think about how long it will be until he sees his family again in person.
“It’s already been long enough.”
He’s not the only one waiting for their family to come home.
He said he knows of others who have family members stuck in Afghanistan, trying to get back to Canada.
“I honestly hope everybody’s families gets home safe. Nobody should be left behind,” he said.
“Canada needs to take those critical steps to make sure that their citizens and [permanent residents] are safe.”