More than 300 Afghan refugees touch down in Toronto

More than 300 Afghan refugees touch down in Toronto

Canada edges closer to goal of resettling 40,000 refugees

By Barry Ellsworth

TRENTON, Canada (AA) – More than 300 Afghans touched down at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Wednesday, bringing Canada closer to its goal of resettling 40,000 refugees from Taliban-run Afghanistan.

The passengers on the flight, which arrived from Pakistan, were those who aided Canada in its Afghanistan mission, including families of former interpreters and refugees who were sponsored privately.

In all, 30,280 Afghan refugees have arrived in Canada since 2021, the Canadian government said in a press release.

“The Government of Canada is working hard to resettle at least 40,000 Afghan refugees in Canada as quickly and safely as possible,” the government said in a news release.

“We developed several special programs and measures that reflect the long and enduring relationship we have with Afghans, and to protect some of the most vulnerable groups in Afghanistan.”

When asked about calls to increase the 40,000 number, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was noncommittal.

“We're continuing to work on fulfilling those numbers, and we'll look to what we can and must do in the future in other ways," he said at a news conference in Winnipeg.

The government is seeking to resettle the most vulnerable Afghans, “including women leaders, human rights defenders, persecuted and religious minorities…and journalists,” Immigration Canada said in a news release.

The Taliban banned women from working for the UN earlier this month, prompting the organization to tell its employees on Tuesday to not go to UN offices in Afghanistan, the UN said in a statement.

"Through this ban, the Taliban de facto authorities seek to force the United Nations into having to make an appalling choice between staying and delivering in support of the Afghan people and standing by the norms and principles we are duty-bound to uphold," the UN statement said.

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