Two-thirds of those Afghan interpreters who applied for refugee status in Canada have apparently been turned down.
The special-measures program was announced with much fanfare by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in the fall of 2009 and brought Canada in line with other NATO countries which had already launched similar initiatives. It ends Monday.
Applicants had to demonstrate they faced extraordinary risk as a result of their work with Canada. Few didn’t. Working as an interpreter for NATO forces in southern Afghanistan was akin to having a Taliban bull’s-eye on the back of a shalwar khameez. Stories of night letters, threatening phone calls, abductions and even hangings were part of the job. As interpreters also travelled with soldiers and diplomats, at least six were among those killed during the IED strikes that claimed 161 Canadian lives.