Afghan interpreters allowed into Canada "disappointed"

The government has proclaimed its intent to help Afghan interpreters who worked with the Canadian Forces to come to Canada, but many of those who have already arrived feel “abandoned” and “disappointed”.

Reporting for Ipolitics.ca, Murray Brewster and Steve Rennie have found discontent among former interpreters (Murray Brewster and Steve Rennie, Afghan interpreters fear Taliban retribution, seek new life in Canada, Ipolitics.ca, 23 July 2011):

A former Afghan interpreter says it has been a struggle to find work since he came to Canada late last year.

The man — who asked that his name not be used to protect his family in Afghanistan — had spent several years working for the Canadians in and around Kandahar.

Now he lives in a cramped apartment with fellow interpreters. There was no job waiting for him when he stepped off the airplane, no training offered and few prospects — just a monthly cheque for $750 for a year.

It was only this month that he finally found work as a labourer. But he’s on the job only a few days a week and does not earn enough extra money to send to his family back home.

Brewster and Rennie report that at least six interpreters have been killed alongside Canadian soldiers and an unknown number have been wounded by roadside bombs. Others have seen their family members kidnapped or assassinated because of their ties to coalition troops.

In an article published by the Canadian Press in January, Ghulam Wali Noorie, a former interpreter who relocated to Ottawa, said that “Ethically, it is the (government’s) responsibility, humanitarily this is their responsibility: to rescue, to save those people who worked with them in dangerous situations.” (Stephanie Levitz, Targeted Afghan interpreters now living in Canada, Canadian Press, 6 January 2011).

DND photo

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