July 19, 2010

Canada well known to Afghan would-be refugees

Filed under: Asia, Cancon, Economics, Military, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 12:01

Strategy Page updates the story about the 17 Afghan military trainees who disappeared from their assigned quarters in Texas while on a language training course:

Now the air force has carefully checked their records and found that at least 46 foreign troops had walked away from their training courses in the last five years. All but two (one from Iraq, another from Djibouti) were Afghan.

These men had disappeared from a U.S. Air Force language school, where they learned enough English so they could attend U.S. military training courses. The media coverage implied that some of these guys could be terrorists, who joined the Afghan military, qualified for training in the United States, and then disappeared once you got there, so they could carry out attacks. But it appears the reason behind the disappearances was economic, rather than ideological or religious.

That does make a lot of sense, from their point of view: going from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the richest, the temptation to stay must be considerable. Of interest to Canadians:

After the first 17 missing Afghans was revealed, American immigration officials went looking for them. They soon reported that they had tracked down at least eleven of the missing Afghans, using just Facebook. These men had gone to Canada, using the military ID the U.S. provided them while in the United States. It’s easier to claim asylum in Canada, a fact widely known in Afghanistan (and often exploited by those leaving the country for a better life in the West.) U.S. officials believed they had located all but two or three of the missing seventeen Afghans, and expected to track down the rest soon.

In spite of the fears of pacifists in Canada, apparently our “warmongering” hasn’t seriously damaged our pre-existing reputation as a soft-touch for refugee claimants.

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