Hundreds of people gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Saturday to support the people of Afghanistan and urge the Canadian government to do more for the bereaved after the Taliban seized power.
The Vancouver event was held in line with similar rallies across the country, including Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal.
Canadians are gathering to raise awareness of the Afghanistan crisis as the Fed stops evacuations
Protesters say they want the international community to increase pressure on the Taliban to uphold human rights and increase efforts to get people out of the country safely.
“All lives in Afghanistan are in danger right now,” organizer Ahmadwaly Yasin told Global News.
A BC woman’s fear of women and girls left behind in Afghanistan under Taliban rule
Since the collapse of the Afghan government and the Taliban’s consolidation of power, Afghans in British Columbia have shared their fears of bloody retaliation.
‘They do not want mercy on our family’: Fear of women, girls left behind in Afghanistan
Many say they do not believe the Taliban has changed or will keep promises not to take revenge on people who worked with the international coalition during the war.
Of particular concern is the fate of women and girls whose rights were severely curtailed during the last Taliban government and who were forced into marriages at a young age.
The uncertain future of Afghan women and girls
Zarifa Joya, an Afghan-Canadian who said most of her relatives remain in Afghanistan, told Global News she was ill.
“It has been like 20 days, we can not eat, we can not sleep. There is no taste in my food. When my child comes home, he cries, I cry, ”she said.
‘They are tearing at our souls’: Canada ends Kabul evacuation operation as many leave behind
Another rally, requesting anonymity for fear of endangering the family in Afghanistan, shared a similar message.
“If the Taliban find out that part of my family is a translator with the U.S. Army, they will definitely come and find my other brothers and other family, and they will not leave them alive,” he said.
Canada officially ended its evacuation efforts from Afghanistan on Thursday.
Canada promised to accept 20,000 at-risk Afghans who had helped Canada during its military intervention, but officials said only 3,700 were transported out before air lifts stopped.
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