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Canadian officials have met with Taliban more than a dozen times since Kabul fell: documents

Canadian authorities officers have met with representatives of the Taliban on a minimum of 13 events in Qatar because it swept to energy in Afghanistan in August 2021, paperwork obtained by CBC Information reveal.

The paperwork, obtained via entry to info legislation, present David Sproule, Canada’s senior official for Afghanistan, has been — together with numerous International Affairs Canada (GAC) officers and representatives of allied nations — urgent the Taliban for commitments on extending the suitable to an schooling to girls, combating terrorism and granting protected passage to Afghans who wish to go away the nation.

Not like international affairs departments within the U.S. and Pakistan, Canada doesn’t present common updates on its talks with the federal government in Afghanistan.

International Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly declined an interview request for this story, however Prime Minister Justin Trudeau instructed journalists Wednesday morning that Canada has no intention of recognizing the Taliban as Afghanistan’s authorities.

“The fact is, together with worldwide companions, we’ve got to proceed to press on them to respect womens’ rights, to ensure the women can go to high school, to assist the protected passage of people that wish to go away Afghanistan. There’s a want to have interaction regardless that we is not going to be recognizing them,” he mentioned. 

In an announcement, GAC spokesperson Charlotte MacLeod emphasised how Sproule has been partaking the Taliban informally, with allied nations, and all would proceed to press them on human-rights associated points, combating terror and different “key priorities.”

(From left) Brig.-Gen. David Fraser, U.S. Maj.-Gen. Benjamin Freakley and David Sproule, the Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan, communicate with reporters after the change of command ceremony that put Fraser accountable for coalition troops on the bottom in southern Afghanistan on Feb. 28, 2006. (The Canadian Press)

The paperwork obtained by CBC Information are principally emails Sproule despatched to his GAC colleagues. They present the Taliban has made its personal requests of Canada and different nations — and has issued denials concerning the hazards confronted by Afghans making an attempt to depart, regardless of a number of stories by CBC Information and different media retailers about these risks.

In a gathering on Oct. 12, 2021 — not lengthy after it took over — the Taliban requested representatives of international governments to reopen their embassies in Kabul.

In response to a be aware Sproule wrote to his colleagues, Afghanistan’s appearing international minister on the time, Amir Khan Muttaqi, additionally requested these governments to elevate their sanctions and claimed his authorities was inclusive as a result of it included ethnic minority illustration and “girls in authorities haven’t been fired.”

The Canadian embassy’s entrance gate after the evacuation in Kabul on August 15, 2021. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Pictures)

Throughout that very same assembly, Sproule reported, the Taliban claimed that “persons are utilizing safety as an excuse to depart the nation, however are actually leaving to hunt financial alternatives.” Sproule mentioned the Taliban additionally claimed that whereas it didn’t need anybody to depart, it might “not create hurdles in the event that they wished to go.”

Sproule mentioned that the Taliban recommended that international governments “considering serving to girls … ought to begin by paying the salaries of 200,000 feminine lecturers, together with 28,000 in Kabul.”

Sproule reported that in his subsequent assembly with Afghan authorities representatives, additionally in October, the Taliban acknowledged “a minor drawback in cupboard” — a scarcity of girls.

Taliban representatives additionally claimed, he mentioned, that “girls judges, prosecutors and others” participating in demonstrations in opposition to the regime “are intentionally frightening safety personnel to retaliate in opposition to them to allow them to produce video of the retaliation to again up their claims for asylum overseas.”

Women demonstrate ahead of the first anniversary of the Taliban's return to power in Kabul on Saturday.
Taliban fighters fired into the air to disperse a rally by girls in entrance of the schooling ministry constructing in Kabul days earlier than the primary anniversary of the hardline Islamists’ return to energy on August 13, 2022. (Nava Jamshidi/Getty Pictures)

Sproule reported the Taliban accused “the worldwide neighborhood” of a double customary as a result of it “acknowledged many different governments that got here to energy by power however had the assist of the individuals.”

He mentioned that on Nov. 23, he requested one other Taliban official (whose title and title had been redacted within the paperwork) why they might not think about a power-sharing settlement “with revered figures exterior the motion to provide it added legitimacy.”

The Taliban consultant agreed there could be an “benefit in doing so,” Sproule mentioned, since the final 4 many years in Afghanistan confirmed that one political group couldn’t absolutely management the nation by power — however the regime was sustaining “100 per cent monopoly over energy.”

Embassy intrusion

The correspondence additionally confirmed Sproule was troubled by Taliban members getting into Canadian diplomatic property on Sept. 10, 2021, rather less than a month after the regime seized energy and after Canada introduced it was quickly shutting its embassy and vacating employees.

A report by the British information group Sky Information from that day reveals journalists getting into the British and Canadian embassies accompanied by Taliban safety guards. Footage from the Canadian compound reveals discarded bottles of wine on the bottom and a Taliban member saying, “They will need to have had some huge cash to eat this a lot … They used to eat good meals, get drunk after which have intercourse with every  different.”

The primary reference to this occasion in Sproule’s paperwork is available in a be aware he wrote on Sept. 20, 2021. In it, he says he plans to formally register “concern about Taliban people getting into our diplomatic property in Kabul in violation of Afghanistan’s treaty obligation to guard diplomatic property.”

The paperwork say Sproule introduced up the occasion once more throughout conferences in October and November of 2021 with totally different Taliban representatives. He stories he was instructed to “ahead the video clip of the incident for the matter to be pursued.” 

The final assembly between Sproule and Taliban representatives summarized within the paperwork occurred on Feb. 16 of this 12 months. One doc says Sproule warned the Taliban that “future engagement of the worldwide neighborhood” with their authorities could be “instantly influenced by its actions in opposition to terrorist teams” and that Afghanistan ought to “not once more be allowed to function a base for terrorist actions.”

In response, says the doc, Taliban defence official Abdullah Hanefi insisted that the Taliban managed “all of Afghanistan’s territory” and whereas small cells may exist, no terror group was utilizing Afghanistan as a coaching floor or to finance actions.

Nipa Banerjee, an expert in residence on the College of Ottawa College of Worldwide Growth and International Research, mentioned that whereas it might not be straightforward to conduct diplomacy with the Taliban, “it’s completely important.” 

“Abandoning the Taliban at this stage, to me, is equal to abandoning the peculiar Afghans who’ve no person to assist them,” she mentioned.

Banerjee labored on the Canadian embassy in Kabul for 4 years that overlapped with Sproule’s tenure as ambassador to Afghanistan from 2005 to 2007.

Nipa Banerjee, a former staffer on the Canadian Embassy in Kabul, says the Canadian authorities and western allies ought to set clear benchmarks for the Taliban. (Toni Choueiri/CBC)

Banerjee mentioned Canada might group up with allies within the worldwide neighborhood to open a consultant workplace in Afghanistan with the intention to have a presence on the bottom — with out committing to a full embassy.

She mentioned such an workplace might fact-check Taliban claims that it’s permitting ladies to return to high school and isn’t jailing political dissidents.

“Whether or not or not [the Taliban] are reliable is one thing that must be established and the federal government has to determine the right way to set up that,” she mentioned.

“I am saying that fact-checking with objectives, outcomes and indicators of outcomes, this may be accomplished and we must always work on that.”

NDP Chief Jagmeet Singh mentioned Wednesday that whereas he would not assist recognizing the Taliban authorities, he does assist talks between Canada and the Taliban.

“Our purpose as New Democrats is to ensure we get those that have put their lives in danger, which have supported our troops, we discover a solution to get them to security,” Singh instructed a information convention.

“If meaning having some conferences and having ongoing dialogue, then for the purpose of securing the discharge and the protection of those that have put their lives in danger to assist our troops, sure, we must always try this.”

Singh added he additionally needs to see the Canadian authorities put stress on the Taliban to respect human rights in Afghanistan.

GAC’s departmental assertion to CBC Information recommended it has little foundation to imagine the Taliban’s claims. It famous “the human rights state of affairs in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate severely, particularly with regard to secondary schooling for women,” and it’s “deeply involved about stories of extrajudicial punishments … comparable to reprisals and abstract executions, disappearances and detentions.”

Canada has allotted greater than $143 million in humanitarian help to Afghanistan and the area this 12 months.

Former international affairs minister Marc Garneau appointed Sproule as senior official for Afghanistan over the past Canadian federal election. He made the announcement on Twitter on Aug. 27, 2021.

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