Humanitarian Crisis Looms in Afghanistan as Taliban on Rampage

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Thunder Bay – INTERNATIONAL NEWS – The situation in Afghanistan has become dire for many people.

Moments after Prime Minister Trudeau called for an election in Canada, in Afghanistan people were being fired upon standing in a crowd reportedly near the Canadian Embassy.

People are being killed in Afghanistan.

The Taliban have taken the capital of Kabul. The President has fled the capital.

Taliban insurgents have taken control of the largest cities and Western embassies are sending in troops to assist in the evacuation of staff.

Canadian Officials in a statement say, “The situation in Afghanistan is rapidly evolving and poses serious challenges to our ability to ensure the safety and security of our mission.

“After consulting with Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, the decision was made to temporarily suspend our diplomatic operations in Kabul.

“As always, our priority in these situations is ensuring the safety and security of Canadian personnel. They are now safely on their way back to Canada.

“The Canadian embassy will resume its operations as soon as the security situation in Afghanistan allows us to guarantee appropriate service and adequate security for our staff.

“Our ongoing work to bring Afghans to safety in Canada under the Special Immigration Measures will continue and will remain a top priority. We will continue to work in close coordination on this commitment.

“The Government of Canada, including the Canadian Armed Forces, is working closely with allies, including the United States, to ensure processing capacity for the ongoing Special Immigration Measures program. Applications continue to be processed, including for those who can safely leave Afghanistan. They will be able to come to Canada as soon as their applications are approved. We are urgently bringing more Afghans to safety in Canada and will continue to support them through this crisis.

“We fear the worst is yet to come and the larger tide of hunger is fast approaching… The situation has all the hallmarks of a humanitarian catastrophe,” the World Food Programme’s Thomson Phiri told a U.N. briefing.

In Geneva, spokesperson for High Commissioner Bachelet, Ravina Shamdasani, said that people “rightly” feared that the Taliban would erase the human rights gains of the past two decades, as US and international forces completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Repeating the High Commissioner’s condemnation of reported Taliban violence against communities, including women, rights defenders and journalists, she told correspondents that “women are already being killed and shot for breaching rules,” whilst “some radio stations have stopped broadcasting”.

In Balkh Province, “a women’s rights activist was shot and killed for breaching the rules”, added Ms. Shamdasani. OHCHR had also been receiving reports of “summary executions, attacks against current and former government officials and their family members, destruction of homes, schools and clinics and the laying of large numbers of IEDs (improvised explosive devices),” in areas already captured by the Taliban and in contested areas, she said.

Over 250,000 people have been forced from their homes since May, 80 per cent of those people are women and children according to the U.N. refugee agency’s Shabia Mantoo said.

Many people have reported extortion by armed groups on the way and having to dodge improvised explosive devices along major roads.

“They are sleeping in the open, in parks and public spaces,” Jens Laerke, spokesman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “A major concern right now is simply finding shelter for them.”