Ottawa: The military’s special forces are operating outside the closed confines of Kabul’s chaotic airport to get people on flights out of Afghanistan, Canadian officials disclosed Monday.
The officials would not provide more details, citing the sensitivity of the security situation, but they said they are having success in getting more Afghans to safety.
They said a Canadian C-17 Globemaster carried 436 people out of Kabul airport on Sunday night, including Canadian citizens and family members, as well as Afghan nationals accepted for resettlement by Canada and its allies up from the 121 airlifted a day earlier.
“We are having success getting folks into HKIA in significant numbers, which has been a significant improvement over the last few days,” said one official, using the acronym for Hamid Karzai International Airport.
“We made the decision to disclose that Canada’s special operations forces have been and continue to work outside the confines of HKIA.”
The official said the special forces personnel “are working relentlessly” to bring as many Canadian citizens and eligible Afghans through security gates to waiting aircraft.
The disclosure came during a briefing for journalists on Monday that was given by three senior federal officials, on the condition they not be named as per the agreements for such background briefings.
Desperate Afghans who previously worked as interpreters for Western military forces and news agencies, among others, are in hiding, fearing for the safety of themselves and their families after Afghanistan fell to the Taliban last week and exposed them to violent reprisals.
By Mike Blanchfield
The Canadian Press