It was a complex operation that would have rescued nearly 300 young Afghan musicians who might have found their way to Canada if Justin Trudeau’s government had only been paying attention. Estonian, Portuguese and Ukrainian military officials had offered to partner with Ottawa to make the rescue possible. It never happened. In the case of a Canadian-funded non-governmental organization that has run schools, literacy centres and adult-education programs in Afghanistan, Ottawa’s dysfunctional procedures and mixed messaging have finally caused more than 20 imperilled Afghan staff to abandon their hopes. The group has re-purposed itself to the task of establishing a network of safe houses and laying the foundational tracks of an underground railroad out of the country. The Afghan-Canadian publisher of Hasht-e-Sohb, a liberal Kabul daily newspaper, has been waiting for days to hear whether any of his family members even qualify for Canada’s Afghan refugee resettlement project. The Taliban aren’t only on the lookout for journalists they don’t like — they’re also hunting journalists’ family members.