Technical Brief – August 21, 2021

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

Following the Taliban’s resurgence, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces have been supporting the Government-wide effort to evacuate Canadian Citizens,

Permanent Residents, and at-risk Afghan nationals from Afghanistan.

The conditions on the ground are tenuous, chaotic and desperate.

This is a dangerous mission, and our forward deployed personnel are in harm’s way. We are taking all precautions possible but we must accept the risk to ensure we are there for those who stood with us.

From the beginning, we have been working with IRCC to identify eligible evacuees, including Afghan Nationals who are eligible for special immigration measures – the people who

supported the CAF during our 14 year mission in the country.

The CAF is currently conducting evacuation efforts. RCAF C-17 Globemasters, C130J Hercules as well as CAF personnel at Hamid Karzai International Airport, HKIA, in Kabul are conducting these evacuations.

I would like to give you a brief update on these evacuation efforts today.

We resumed evacuation flights on August 19th.

Our C-17 Globemaster aircraft have been configured to carry the maximum number of people as safely as possible.

They are flying out of the airport on a rotational basis coordinating with our U.S and Allied partners to fill aircraft rapidly, and don’t have a lot of time on the ground. Our primary goal is to maximize the number of people being evacuated and the number of planes that can land at Kabul’s airport within the constraints we are dealing with.

CAF members are also helping evacuees enter the airport perimeter, which remains the single biggest limiting factor in getting people out quickly.

We are working with other Federal partners, as well as our Allies who are also conducting evacuation operations.

As such, the people evacuating on CAF aircraft aren’t necessarily destined for Canada and may have been accepted under the immigration programs of other nations.

This was the case for the flight on August 19th that had 175 vulnerable Afghans and 13 foreign nationals aboard. These passengers have already been transferred into the care of our allies.

However, rest assured that evacuating Canadian Citizens and Afghan nationals destined for Canada is a top priority, and other participating nations are helping evacuate our people in need, as well.

Every person we safety evacuate is an important step forward.

Our most recent flight on August 20th left Kabul at capacity with 106 at risk Afghans all destined for Canada, plus Allied Service Members.

To date, we have evacuated nearly 1,000 Afghan nationals at risk of retribution for their work with Canada and Allied countries.

We will continue evacuation efforts as long as the security situation on the ground permits.

I am proud of the work that your CAF members are doing, alongside representatives from Other Government Departments and our Allies to bring Canadians home, and help resettle at-risk Afghans.

Our people are working day and night in a challenging, volatile, and dynamic situation…and we will keep doing everything possible to support Afghans in their time of need.

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