‘It wasn’t just my interpreter’: a veteran helped Afghan and his family resettle in Canada

Article content

For a retired veteran, helping Afghan refugees evacuate the country that is now under Taliban control is a near problem.


Article content

Stephen Peddle, 47, served in the Canadian military for 28 years, including two field missions in Afghanistan, one in 2007 and one in 2012. He left the service in 2019.

Peddle became involved in the current Afghan refugee crisis to help his former interpreter, Sangeen Abdul Mateen, who served on the ground with him in 2007, to safeguard his family members.

“It was not just my interpreter, not only my friend, but my cultural advisor while I was in Afghanistan, to whom I give credit for having helped keep me and my comrades alive,” Peddle said, adding that the interpreter did. it helped to integrate into Afghan culture and was able to detect if danger was near.

So far, Peddle has helped evacuate 12 of the 13 members of Mateen’s family who were trapped in Afghanistan. Mateen came to Canada in 2012 and became a master electrician. Peddle said Mateen now owns a successful commercial business in Oshawa, Ontario, where he and his family now reside.


Article content

Peddle said that one of Mateen’s brothers is still hiding from the Taliban and they are working to get him to Canada.

Peddle said Mateen’s father was a senior Afghan National Army officer and that if the Taliban had found him, they would likely have executed him for helping Canada.

In 2007, Peddle served in Kandahar, where he worked with some 500 Afghan soldiers and guided them in the “art of war.” Peddle said he couldn’t have done his job without Mateen translating his words to the soldiers.

“These are the Afghans who helped us,” Peddle said. “These are the ones that made it as safe as possible for us while we were there. So, I also feel a sense of obligation. We packed up and left and some of them are still stuck there under a very evil regime. “


Article content

Peddle is a fourth-generation soldier after his grandfather served in WWI. He said serving has been a family legacy based on his beliefs: he believes in Canada, all the values ​​that encapsulate what makes us Canadians, and protects those values ​​at home, but also exports those ideals abroad.

“He represents Canada on the world stage and that is what it really means to me to be a soldier. It is to exemplify the best of what our society represents, ”he said.

Peddle’s efforts have been noticed by the Order of St. George and he will be officially “knighted” in Burnaby, BC, next Sunday.

Allan Plett, Knight Commander and Prior of the Order of St. George Cascadia Priory, said he will use his blessed sword for Officer Knight Peddle as a field knight because he meets the criteria and beyond.


Article content

“It is an honorary rank for anyone, veteran or civilian, that goes beyond the call of duty in the area of ​​community service,” said Plett. “In this case, that community service was a military or veteran community service doing something that was just the right thing to do because he knew how to do it.”

Peddle said being able to do something positive for Afghans who have helped Canadians lifts him up and makes veterans feel so much better about what happened there, which is why the Order of St. George struck a chord with him.

In partnership with True Patriot Love, the Order of St. George has launched the “Campaign for the Resettlement of Afghan Interpreters and Veterans Mental Health”, which aims to raise funds to help relocate Afghan interpreters and support mental health of veterans who, according to Plett, have been affected. since the recent “total abandonment of Afghanistan”.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the campaign has raised $ 33,001 of its goal of $ 50,000.

Anyone who wants to donate to the campaign can do so at orderstgeorge.ca/.

[email protected]




Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civilized discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to moderate before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications – you will now receive an email if you receive a response to your comment, there is an update from a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Principles for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.


Leave a Comment