Canadians support continued help for trapped Afghan translators: Poll

Survey comes as veteran-funded safe houses in Afghanistan risk running out of money

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Canadians are all in favour of continuing to support safe houses for Afghan interpreters left behind.

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Roughly 1,700 beleaguered translators were left behind in the war-torn country, which is now in the hands of the Taliban.

A new poll by Maru Public Opinion shows 80% of Canadians support government funding of approximately $6 million over the next year to help the push to protect them.

The struggle to shield the interpreters is being led by Canadian veterans groups and other non-government organizations that are operating safe houses in Afghanistan.

The homes are for interpreters  — and their families — who assisted coalition military forces, until they can be processed and eventually moved out of the country.

The mad scramble to flee erupted in August as the country rapidly fell back into the clutches of the Taliban.

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Western nations like Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and France launched a desperate series of flights from Hamid Karzai airport for weeks to try to evacuate as many citizens and Afghans who had worked with coalition soldiers in the War in Afghanistan.

After fighting alongside and assisting Canadian soldiers for years, many suddenly felt abandoned as the capital and the area around the airport descended into chaos and bloody violence.

Veterans groups continue to work to get those translators and their families to safety.

That effort includes keeping them hunkered down in safe houses.

When Canada and the other countries hastily left in August, some of the interpreters had already been approved to come to Canada.

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Others are still being processed.

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As a group, they now fear the daily risk of retaliation and even death at the hands of the new Taliban leaders.

Canadian veterans groups and NGOs, who have been financing those safe houses on their own, have run out of money.

It is feared many safe houses will close very soon.

  1. Taliban soldiers stand in front of a sign at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 9, 2021.

    Kabul safe houses for ex-interpreters to close for lack of funding

  2. A Royal Canadian Air Force C-17 Globemaster roars in for a landing at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto earlier this month. The military cargo plane was the second airlift mission evacuating Canadian Forces contracted interpreters out of Afghanistan.

    WARMINGTON: Stranded Afghan interpreters running out of options

  3. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, left, attends the first press conference in Kabul on August 17, 2021, following their takeover of Afghanistan.

    WARMINGTON: Afghan interpreters survive on bread and water as they wait for rescue plan

The new poll shows support for paying for the safe houses is relatively uniform across the country.

The findings were based on a survey done from Nov. 5-9, of 1518 randomly selected Canadian adults.

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