In a national address, Afghan President says he is working to prevent further destruction

Canada announced it will help resettle 20,000 vulnerable Afghans hoping to flee to other countries as the Taliban closes in on at least half of Afghanistan’s provincial capitals.

“The situation in Afghanistan is continuing to deteriorate, and Afghans’ lives are under threat. To help them, we’re expanding our resettlement program – we’re going to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Afghans and expedite processing timelines,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted Friday.

Canada will introduce a special program focusing on helping the particularly vulnerable: women leaders, human rights defenders, journalists, persecuted religious minorities, LGBTI individuals, and family members of previously resettled interpreters.

“The program will welcome government-supported and privately sponsored refugees, along with those sponsored by family already in Canada,” reads a Friday press release from the government. 

Meanwhile Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch called for more governments to help. “The Taliban have a long record of abusing or killing civilians they deem ‘enemies’…Whether from inside or outside of Afghanistan, governments and UN offices should provide protection and assistance to at-risk Afghans and make processing travel documents and transportation a priority,” Gossman said in a press release Friday.