Ukrainian Special Forces last month carried out a daring operation in Kabul to rescue 19 Afghan refugees, including translators, including one who worked for Canada’s leading newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and another who served in the military. Canadian, as well as their families. . They arrived in Kiev on August 29.
This rescue was coordinated by the Ukrainian army, the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and The Globe and Mail. Mark MacKinnon, the Globe and Mail’s senior international correspondent, not only revealed the story, but was instrumental in coordinating the rescue, CTV News reported.
“It was an incredible rescue,” MacKinnon told CTV. “We have tried many different rescue groups; we had some plans with the Canadian army to get them into the Kabul airport that didn’t work. We had a plan with the US State Department that gave us advice on how to get them in, but it fell apart after the suicide bombings last week.
Mr MacKinnon said his contacts with the Ukrainian president’s office and other diplomatic channels had been concluded and the bailout had been worked out.
“They said, ‘Tell your guys to get in some vehicles, take pictures of the license plates of those cars and send those pictures to the Ukrainian army,” “he said. “They told the cars to drive near the airport.”
Mr McKinnon reported that the rescue of the translators was carried out in the early morning of August 27 in Kabul, a day after the last Canadian evacuation plane left Afghanistan, and hours after the suicide bombing in the one of the doors of Hamid Karzai International. airport, which killed at least 170 Afghans trying to flee the country, as well as 13 US soldiers. Following the attack, claimed by the local affiliate of the so-called Islamic State, the United States said only foreign nationals – and no longer Afghans who have visas – would be allowed into the airport.
Despite this restriction, as well as the growing risks to coalition forces ahead of the planned withdrawal of the last US forces on August 31, Ukrainian troops marched into the city of Kabul to escort two minibuses – carrying translators to their destinations. of Canada and Their families; 19 people in all – on the airfield.
The soldiers had photographs of the license plates of the minibuses, and they surrounded and escorted the vehicles the last 600 meters to the airport.
Another person who played a key role was Roman Waschuk, the former Canadian Ambassador to Kiev who assisted the operation by putting the Globe and Mail in touch with a senior official in Mr. Zelenskyy’s office. He told The Globe and Mail that the Ukrainians accepted the rescue mission in large part thanks to the support their country received from Canada during its own seven-year war with Russian-backed forces in the Donbass.
“This courageous Ukrainian special forces operation demonstrates the strong friendship and long-standing ties between Canada and Ukraine,” said Alexandra Chyczij, National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. “Ukrainian forces have acted boldly, courageously and fearlessly. In the terrible circumstances of Afghanistan, Ukraine has shown its support for Canada, and we are grateful to them.
In particular, the evacuees said they were stunned that Ukrainian troops took risks to save them, unlike Canadian and American forces.
“Everyone was surprised. I tried last month to get someone to get us. We asked Americans, Canadians, Qataris, everyone – and no solution. They were afraid to go out, ”said Jawed Haqmal, a 33-year-old father of four who worked for two years with the Canadian Special Forces in Kandahar. “Ukrainian soldiers were angels to us. They did an exceptional job. They have a big heart.
And that is the key lesson to be learned from this daring operation. Members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces acted swiftly, courageously and precisely. This contrasts with the failed rescue operations of the Canadian and US governments.
Yet US President Joe Biden had the nerve to tell Zelenskyy that Ukraine is far from ready to join NATO. If military precision and professionalism is any indication, then Ukraine is more than ready. And the way forward is through the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP). MAP is a NATO advisory, assistance and practical support program tailored to the individual needs of countries wishing to join the alliance. The countries participating in the MAP submit individual annual national programs on their preparations for possible future membership. These submissions cover political, economic, defense, resources, security and legal aspects.
In a telephone interview on April 6 with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Zelenskyy stressed that the most pressing issue in NATO relations for Ukraine was admission to the MAP. Yet Ukraine still remains outside the program.
Not only did Ukraine participate in more joint NATO exercises than any non-NATO member, but it boldly engaged with a rescue operation that involved going where no member of the l NATO dared not go. It is certain that in recent years Ukraine has more than satisfactorily demonstrated its rapidly growing military prowess, its reliability as a future partner and its steadfast commitment to the common goals and objectives of the alliance of NATO, and these successes justify entry into the MAP without further excuses or delays.
Marco Levytsky can be contacted at [email protected]