Former Canadian contractor shares his journey to freedom after the Taliban Takeover

Former contractor shares his journey to freedom after the Taliban Takeover.

“We were not moving. Everybody was watching our actions.”

At the end of the summer, A Former Contractor for the Canadian Armed Forces shared his detailed account of trying to escape Afghanistan after the Taliban Takeover.

2021 Taliban Offensive (Recap)

A military offensive began on May 1, 2021, by the Taliban and allied militant groups against the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its allies. They were coinciding with the withdrawal of the United States and allied troops from Afghanistan. The offensive marked the end of the near 20-year-old War in Afghanistan, which had begun following the United States invasion in response to the September 11 attacks and resulted in the De Facto takeover of the country and the reinstatement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

In the first three months of the offensive, the Taliban made significant territorial gains in the countryside, increasing the number of districts it controlled from 73 to 223. On 6 August, the Taliban launched an assault on the provincial capitals of Afghanistan, with most of the towns surrendering without a fight and it captured all Afghan provincial capitals except Barak.

On August 15, 2021, President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. The Taliban captured the Afghan capital Kabul (also known as the Fall of Kabul); thus, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s Government fell. The Taliban’s takeover came as a surprise to governments across the globe, including those of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, and Russia. The Taliban victory had widespread domestic and international ramifications regarding human rights and the proliferation of terrorism.

The offensive included a continuation of the bottom-up succession of negotiated or paid surrenders to the Taliban from the village level upwards that started following the February 2020 US–Taliban deal (The Afghan Peace Process).

  Timeline To Freedom

 The Former Contractor for The Canadian Armed Forces was one of the thousands that were left behind during the evacuation effort that took place weeks ago. Days after the Taliban Takeover he said, his family moved as little as possible and received help from a friend who would bring them necessities. He compared his experience to prison because he felt there was no chance of escaping. The contractor considers himself incredibly lucky since thousands were left behind after he sought refuge in Pakistan. In the coming weeks, he hopes to be back on Canadian soil, where he can support his children in reaching their full potential.

Canada is not just a place of opportunity but a haven where his family can thrive and be at peace. So far, Canada has brought approximately 2,600 refugees to Canada through its extensive immigration programs and aims to resettle 40,000 refugees.

Global Affairs Canada said, “We will not stop until the remaining Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their families, and vulnerable Afghans who have supported our work in Afghanistan and want to leave can leave.”

Afghans attacked by the Taliban say they are uncertain of how they can obtain Canadian visas. The process of moving to Canada remains complicated and often too slow. The former contractor, who spoke to The House of Commons, said Canada needs to initiate contact with the Taliban to begin facilitating flights so that people can reach other countries like Qatar or Turkey and eventually Canada.

He also criticized the Canadian Government for taking so long to launch these special programs to support refugees during this time. Afghanistan’s economy is collapsing rapidly, and the United Nations now estimates that 97% of Afghans could be living in poverty by mid-2022.

The future remains uncertain and countries across the world are feeling the pressure. The US has made considerable progress. Direct conversations between the Taliban and the United States resulted in a handover agreement and aid distribution late last month. Canada provided additional support by pledging another 50 million to humanitarian aid to international organizations.

However, the country faces a “watershed moment,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said earlier this week. In a separate interview with The House of Commons, two international development experts discussed how aid can best be distributed in Afghanistan and what this means for the recognition of the Taliban government.

A professor at the University of Ottawa, Nipa Banerjee, said the goal should be to aid Afghans, which may require a “bargaining position” with the Taliban to ensure support is distributed. “Afghanistan should not be isolated right now by depriving them of all support and without talking to them,” she said.



Alejandra Gallo

Alejandra is an international Journalist based Canada with focus on world affairs including Fussiness, Economy, Health and Politics.