Afghan family reunited in Campbell River after escaping Taliban death threats


A Canadian flag hangs outside the home of Campbell River’s newest immigrants, the Ahmadi family from Kandahar, Afghanistan.

“I am from Afghanistan, now I am from Canada,” Gul Ahmadi told CHEK News.

He arrived in Campbell River with his family of seven in December, but they were all back at the airport on Sunday when three more family members arrived, including his mother.

“I’m super happy, and I’m kind of like in a dream,” Amin Ahmadi said through another son, Sayed, who was translating.

Sayed was once an interpreter for Canadian and American forces during the Afghanistan war that began in the early 2000s, which put his life and the lives of his family members at risk.

“And the life was very hard for us, especially for me,” he said. “Taliban gave me warnings many times and threat warnings, and they shot me here on my finger and also on my leg.”

The US government got him and his immediate family to America six years ago.

They currently live in the Los Angeles area.

He’s now visiting Campbell River to celebrate the arrival in Canada of the rest of his family, who have literally been hiding out in Pakistan before coming here.

“It’s wonderful for me, and we are all so happy,” said Mahmood Ahmadi.

“She’s saying that we had a big hope that we would arrive in Canada, but thanks God we arrived safely, and we are super happy,” said Sayed, who was translating for his sister Asma Ahmadi.

She and Mahmood also just arrived on Sunday.

A local team of 12 people was behind the effort to get the Ahmadis to Canada, navigating over two years of red tape.

The group raised enough money to support the family for a year.

“Every step of the way, we would cheer and say we’re almost there, but having this final wrap-up is an incredible feeling,” said Michelle Downey.

“Yesterday morning, it was a torrential storm, and they were out on their bikes because they just haven’t had that opportunity for so long,” added Cheryl Couture.

The family will now settle into their rental home, go to school, learn English, get jobs, and enjoy the freedom so many others take for granted.

READ ALSO: Ceremony commemorates 10th anniversary of the end of Canada’s Afghanistan mission

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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