November 29, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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An Afghan doctor and his 7 children have returned home to Canada

An Afghan doctor and his 7 children have returned home to Canada

After two months of efforts, a small team of ex-Canadian soldiers successfully repatriated an Afghan doctor and his seven children to Canada.

Also read: Women in Kandahar resist and work with anguish

Influenced by the start of the re-emergence of Afghanistan from the hands of the Taliban, ex-soldier Helen Lesselloor walked amidst sadness and anger for a few days in mid-August before embarking on a reopened wound healing project .: Take Dr. Abdul Wali and his family from Kandahar.

Captain Lessellour learned about the Afghan surgeon 14 years ago during his mission at Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar. Dr. Wally has been involved in over a hundred projects with Canadian forces, but for Heline, their contribution in setting up three medical clinics in villages in the operation area has united them.

Although she had no contact with Dr. Wali for a few years, she first thought about the ex-soldier when the Taliban returned. “If there’s anyone who deserves to be saved, it’s him,” Helene said.

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Photo courtesy, Hélène LeScelle

M.To me Lessellour and Luke Saint-Jean surrounded Dr. Wally, who arrived in Toronto last Sunday.

Together with a small group, she tried to bring him out of Afghanistan. First, by setting up a prudent fundraiser that raised $ 16,000. Meanwhile, the doctor, his wife and their seven children crossed the border into Pakistan and headed for Quetta in the southwest of the country.

The money allowed the family to find a safe home and buy food. They went into hiding for six weeks while waiting for the papers they needed to escape.

Canadian resident

Fortunately, after spending a few months in Toronto, Dr. Wally, who has Canadian resident status, has already begun immigration procedures. The process for her children did not go so far, however, as it delayed their departure from Pakistan.

In addition, the father and the rest of the family left Islamabad within a few days, which put severe stress on the children. Fortunately, they arrived safely and are now in custody at the hotel until October 20.

“Massive relief”

Double-vaccinated Dr. Wally arrived in Toronto last Sunday, where Helene and her colleague Luke Saint-Jean were welcomed. “It was very comforting and our goal of bringing him back to Canada was achieved,” Helene said.

The work for the family was not done, those who wanted to leave their country with nothing and settle in Ottawa. While the rest of the family waits for the confinement to end, Helene, who lives in Gatino, helps Dr. Wally tame the city and take the next steps.

“On a I lost everything “

Dr. Wally, who sometimes confessed with guilt for leaving his family and his people behind him, feels he has made the right decision to leave his homeland where there is no “hope anymore”.

Has been working for Dr. Abdul Wali and his family for the past two months. In Kabul, on August 15, when the Taliban took over the country, the doctor said he did not know what to expect, and that “silence” had touched him for the first time.

“It was silence, gunfire, nothing. Everything was quiet,” says the man anticipating violent clashes.

Ten days later, the doctor and his family boarded a bus from Kabul to Kandahar, then flew to the Pakistan border, their last hope of escaping after the end of the international airlift.

“They just checked in. They didn’t ask personal questions. They were looking for the people they wanted,” he explains in English.

The “terrible” drive to Islamabad was also stressful, but the doctor said he did not succumb to fear. “I was with my family. Even though it was a scary moment, I didn’t show my emotions.”

He feels guilty

While happy to be safe, Dr. Wally is still “sad to have left it all”. He thinks specifically about his 70-year-old mother who lives there.

“There is no hope for the future, the doctor is upset, we left it all to them [aux talibans], The last 20 years and all the work of the Alliance ”. Dr. is also concerned about his career in Canada.

“We have to start all over again,” Mr. Wally explained, hoping governments will recognize his skills. “We need to take advantage of the immigrants’ qualifications, ”said the surgeon who wanted to use his hands.

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