The Canadian intelligence community warned Ottawa that the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan could increase the risk of terrorist attacks in Canada.
According to Global News, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino was told in May 2021 by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) that Afghanistan could turn into a hotspot for “extremist travellers” who could then return to Canada to conduct an attack.
“The evolving situation in Afghanistan and (the) take-over by the Taliban, a listed terrorist entity, has potentially created a safe haven and base for other extremist organizations, as well as a destination for Canadian extremist travellers,” the briefing document reads.
CSIS head David Vigneault also said that “religiously motivated violent extremism” was a top priority for the spy agency “especially with the Taliban regaining control in Afghanistan and the continued prospect of returning extremist travellers.”
Vigneault also concluded that the Taliban taking over the country would “destabilize security in the region” and “attract other insurgent groups.”
US and NATO troops withdrew from Afghanistan after negotiators negotiated a peace deal with the Taliban in February 2020.
CSIS warned that the total pull-out would have “severe security implications” and “the Taliban would likely realize a complete military victory over the Afghan government.”
The Conservatives have criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for not doing enough to evacuate Afghan allies from the country, despite them being at risk of retaliation from the Taliban for cooperating with occupying forces.
When questioned about the lack of preparations, Trudeau avoided questions from reporters in August 2021 and instead criticized Stephen Harper’s handling of the Syrian crisis in 2015.
“We’re hearing reports about Canadian citizens in Afghanistan who feel particularly abandoned by your government. Will you prioritize getting them out of Afghanistan now that resources are becoming scarcer and it’s becoming so much harder now over refugee applications?” asked CTV reporter Glen McGregor.
“I think a lot of Canadians can’t help but reflect on this situation in this election when we are pledging to welcome tens of thousands of Afghan refugees fleeing terrible violence to what we lived through in 2015, when the Conservative government at the time was not stepping up to welcome Syrian refugees,” said Trudeau.