Canada announced plans to resettle more than 20,000 vulnerable Afghans including women leaders, human rights workers, members of the LGBTQ+ community and reporters to protect them from imminent Taliban reprisals, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino told reporters on Friday.
#BREAKING Canada to accept 20,000 Afghan refugees, prioritizing the most vulnerable women leaders, human rights defenders, journalists, religious minorities, LGBTQ+, and families of already resettled interpreters
— Mercedes Stephenson (@MercedesGlobal) August 13, 2021
According to Reuters, the effort is in addition to an earlier initiative to welcome thousands of Afghans who worked for the Canadian government, such as interpreters, embassy workers and their families.
“As the Taliban continues to take over more of Afghanistan, many more Afghans’ lives are under increasing threat,” he said.
Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said some Canadian special forces were currently in Afghanistan taking part in the relocation effort.
“The challenges on the ground are quite immense,” he said.
Canada’s new plan would focus on those who are particularly vulnerable, including women leaders, human rights defenders, reporters, persecuted religious minorities and members of the gay and lesbian community, Mendicino said.
The Taliban swept into Afghanistan’s capital Sunday after the government collapsed and the embattled president joined an exodus of his fellow citizens and foreigners, signaling the end of a costly two-decade U.S. campaign to remake the country.