Trudeau quiet on Canadian troops’ Kabul plans

[anvplayer video=”5051392″ station=”998130″]

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would not say Friday whether he would authorize Canadian soldiers to operate outside the Kabul airport to extract people safely to the airport.

This comes as Canada’s Immigration Minister says the department is ramping up processes to evacuate the families of interpreters and others who supported Canada’s mission in Afghanistan.

Speaking to the media in Winnipeg during a federal election campaign, Trudeau said he would not comment on operational matters for reasons of security. He called the situation in Afghanistan "extremely challenging" and "horrific."

"Canadian officials, Canadian armed forces and Canadians in homes and communities across the country are doing their part, are ready to welcome in as many Afghans as possible fleeing this terrible situation and this violence. I know we have to keep working day and night to get as many people out as possible. And that’s exactly what all of our Canadian teams continue to do," Trudeau said.

The prime minister said Canada will bring as many Afghans fleeing violence to Canada as possible, with a priority towards people with connections to the country. He acknowledged that the situation has gotten worse much more quickly than anyone had expected.

The Canadian government is not requiring passports or COVID-19 negative tests from Afghan passengers and is deferring biometric screening to a third country, where it’s safe for the evacuees and government officials to take the biometrics.

Trudeau said he looked forward to coordinating Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan with other G7 leaders at their upcoming meeting.