13-year-old who penned letter asking Canada for help crosses Afghanistan border, but says family remains in danger
A 13-year-old boy fleeing Afghanistan is begging for help getting to Canada, saying that he and his family are still in danger despite managing to get out of the country.
The seven–person family fled their home on Thursday by car and crossed the Afghanistan border. The boy, who CTV News Toronto is not identifying, said that he saw the Taliban out of his car window.
"They had guns but they were hitting people with something, some kind of wood or something," he says.
The boy says he was paralyzed with fear that the Taliban would find him.
"I couldn't do anything," he says. "I was so worried, mournful in my heart, you know I couldn't … I couldn't talk."
“I'm asking that please, I beg you … get us out from Afghanistan, it is dangerous for us.”
The family has become potential targets of the Taliban because of a very public position in favour of women's education.
The boy’s aunt told CTV News Toronto that she fears that, "if they don't get out, they will be killed."
The aunt, who CTV News Toronto is also not identifying, is a university researcher. She says she remains worried.
"I'm very worried about his future," she said. "Even if he stayed, even if he doesn't die physically he will die mentally. He will never be able to do the things that he wants to do, he will suffocate."
Immigration lawyer Erin Simpson, who is representing the family, says that the goal is to be among the 20,000 refugees that Canada is accepting in the coming days and weeks.
"Overseas refugee applications are often plagued by unbelievable delays and red tape, and with the situation so volatile, these refugees are very vulnerable to being returned to Afghanistan,” Simpson said.
"Canada needs to ensure that in addition to the evacuation attempts, they are getting this program for resettlement up and running and ready to be nimble."
Meanwhile the boy is pleading for a chance.
"If I can go to another country, Canada, I will raise the voice of women, I will raise the voice of youth. I will be helping the world."
His aunt says their family is well-educated, a champion of women's rights, and would contribute to Canada.
"These are the people that the world needs," she said. "Right now they need the world’s help, but then later on, the world needs them to help make a better world."
They just hope that they are soon on a plane before they are sent back.
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