Escape Under Threat
Hamkar worked with the Canadian Armed Forces as an Interpreter and Cultural Advisor in Kandahar
Hamkar felt great satisfaction in his daily routine as an electrical engineer with DABS, a job he enjoyed before coming home to his loving wife and 6 children. However, his life took a dramatic turn in August 2021. Taliban forces arrived at his workplace and pressured him to continue working under their rule, due to his specialized skills.
“As a human, it’s very difficult – not just for Afghans, but for anyone. When your routine and life has been disrupted, it’s challenging.”
Unbeknownst to the Taliban, Hamkar had a connection with their enemy. A decade prior, he served with the Canadian Armed Forces as an Interpreter and Cultural Advisor. Stationed at Kandahar airfield’s Fob Wilson, Hamkar stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Canadian soldiers during the mission. A year was dedicated to the cause, after which he left to pursue an education in Electrical Engineering at Kabul University.
Under the oppressive rule of the Taliban, he managed to conceal his history while simultaneously applying for immigration to Canada. He sent email after email to the IRCC, and in July 2022, he finally received good news – his application was accepted. In early 2023, he connected with his former supervisor from Kandahar airfield, Mohmand (link), who introduced him to VTN as a conduit for his journey to Canada.
Hamkar with other interpreters now at risk for helping Canada’s soldiers. Wali, bottom right, died in an IED explosion.
“I am very grateful and thankful to VTN. They prepared transportation for me in Afghanistan to Pakistan. They also facilitated the food enroute and helped us in Pakistan to secure our hotel. We felt very supported with very kind people. Thank you to VTN and VTN donors. We are very grateful for your support, and I will never forget that. That’s the best memory for me.”
Since Hamkar’s arrival in Pakistan, the Taliban have become aware of his work with CAF and have sent him threatening messages. While he feels safer now, he is eager to make the final step to Canada.
“I feel relief. I am very grateful that my children will have a bright future in Canada and all of them will have the opportunity to study. I have three girls and education is prohibited in Afghanistan now. I am very hopeful and happy for them to pursue their dreams. For me, I am eager to start my job again in my field. That would be a proud moment for me.”