WARMINGTON: Afghans caught behind enemy lines reminiscent of Dunkirk – Toronto Sun

Canada’s political leaders must put politics aside and rescue those who helped us before it’s too late

Author of the article:

Joe Warmington

A baby is handed over to the American army over the perimeter wall of the airport for it to be evacuated, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 19, 2021.
A baby is handed over to the American army over the perimeter wall of the airport for it to be evacuated, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 19, 2021. Photo by OMAR HAIDARI /via REUTERS

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The scenes from Kabul look like a modern-day Dunkirk.

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While there are thousands caught behind enemy lines and under fire, the difference in Afghanistan is that this is not on water and these are not trained military soldiers.

These are moms, dad and children — many of whom are babies.

It’s a war zone there that is becoming worse by the hour. Bullets flying, crowds of people ducking for cover, mass confusion and pure terror. It’s as ugly as ugly can get.

Plans in hopes for a more successful day of evaluating Afghan refugees at the Kabul airport have not only been thwarted but have disintegrated into mayhem.

Afghans wait near Kabul airport to be rescued on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021.
Afghans wait near Kabul airport to be rescued on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021. Photo by Supplied /Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should call back Parliament and have an emergency meeting in a bipartisan way to plan an appropriate reaction and solution.

Lives are on the line.

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“It’s so dangerous here,” said one of our interpreters, who is there hoping to link up with a Canadian special forces unit to be pulled inside the airfield to board a plane out of there.

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The British and French, and reportedly Canadians,have been going outside the wire and pulling people in. But there’s great debate over the strategy on the ground there.

There are thousands of people crowding around all the gates at the airport hoping to be chosen. But in order to be prioritized, people need to have proper credentials the documents.

And these rescue plans have taken a hit in recent hours as the situation deteriorates and rumours spread of ISIS Supporters arriving.

There are so many rumours from people who are there.

But what appears to be accurate is the bottleneck that is the Kabul airport has come to a virtual standstill. No one there knows what to do and those who are managing the problem have no answers either because they’ve got too many problems and too many people to worry about.

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  1. This image taken by Omar Kaidiri and made available to AFP on August 20 shows a US Marine grabbing an infant over a fence of barbed wire during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on August 19, 2021.

    WARMINGTON: Terps being whipped by Taliban, but good news is coming

  2. People carry the national flag at a protest held during the Afghan Independence Day in Kabul, Afghanistan August 19, 2021.

    WARMINGTON: ‘Almost impossible’ to believe PM said that about ‘terp’ rescue operation

  3. 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: ‘Terps’ have one chance to get through Gates of Hell to taste freedom

It’s a massive humanitarian crisis.

“We don’t see or hear planes taking off, “said one interpreter to the Canadian war effort there.

There are media reports in Afghanistan saying flights have been suspended there for at least 24 hours as authorities hope to get the chaos at the Gates of Hell under control.

Canadian authorities are working around the clock trying to solve this horrific mess, but it appears to be so wide-ranging in scope that there are no quick solutions.

There have been plans and discussions about scooping people from outside the wall and getting them inside the wall, but there have not been many stories of success with this strategy.

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I have talked to many interpreters who say they are hoping for a mission but not hearing anything definitive.

Afghans wait near Kabul airport to be rescued on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021.
Afghans wait near Kabul airport to be rescued on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021. Photo by Supplied /Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

My interpreter when I was there in 2011 is in real limbo with his young children not knowing if they are going to make it out alive.

“I am so scared for my kids,” said the man, whose name I have not been printing for safety reasons but has been the translator for journalistic legend’s Christie Blatchford and Matthew Fisher in the past.

This is not the time to point fingers, but it is the time for all people with an understanding of the different elements of such a crisis to get together and start brainstorming ideas about where to go next to fulfill our commitment to save those who helped us.

Trudeau should reach out to opposition leader Erin O’Toole, who is a military veteran, and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to suspend the election campaign and work together on this problem before any Canadians or our allies are hurt or killed.

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It’s not politics anymore it’s a humanitarian crisis.

Suspending the operation and pulling out Is not an option that this country can live with. There is going to have to be a full military response that involves securing not just the inside of the airport but sections of Kabul outside of it.

No government should care what the Taliban say about that and instead push back on them shooting and assaulting innocent people who can’t defend themselves.

In Canada’s case, the bogged-down rescue mission needs some fresh thinking and ideas because there are a lot of families of Afghan nationals who helped us during the war who are now in need of our help.

jwarmington@postmedia.com

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