UNICEF estimates that 300 unaccompanied minors were evacuated from Afghanistan last month.
A three-year-old Afghan boy has arrived in Toronto, where his father lives, after leaving Kabul alone more than two weeks ago. The globe and mail reported.
The boy, whom The Globe identified with the pseudonym Ali for security reasons for his family in Afghanistan, arrived in Canada on Monday after a 14-hour flight from Qatar.
He had survived the suicide bombing at the airport that… killed 175 people last month, but got separated from his mother and four siblings who remain in Afghanistan.
The child spent two weeks in an orphanage in Qatar, according to the report, before traveling to Canada, accompanied by an official from the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).
“I haven’t slept in two weeks,” the boy’s father, who has lived in Toronto for two years, told the Globe at the airport.
Canada, which was part of the US-led coalition that invaded Afghanistan in 2001, has pledged to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Afghans this year.
“Afghans have risked their lives to support Canada in helping Afghans make significant strides in democracy, human rights, education, health and security over the past 20 years,” said Marc Garneau, Canadian minister State Department, in a statement last month. “We are deeply indebted to them and we will continue our efforts to bring them to safety.”
With US and allied forces withdrawing from the country, the Taliban took over Afghanistan last month, when he captured Kabul on August 15 while President Ashraf Ghani fled.
The US military, which was in control of the airport in Kabul until August 31, conducted a chaotic evacuation operation to remove US citizens, third-country nationals and Afghan allies.
UNICEF, the UN agency for children, estimates that 300 unaccompanied minors were evacuated from Kabul last month to bases hosting refugees in Qatar, Germany and other countries.
UNICEF Director Henrietta Fore has called for the minors to be quickly identified and reunited with their families. She said they are “one of the most vulnerable children in the world”.
“I can only imagine how terrified these children must have been of suddenly being without their families as the airport crisis unfolded or as they were taken away on an evacuation flight,” Fore said in a statement last week.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met a group of unaccompanied Afghan children during a visit to Ramstein Air Base in Germany earlier this month.
“Many, many, many Americans are really looking forward to welcoming you and having you come to the United States,” he told them.
US officials have said the country plans to take 50,000 Afghan refugees.