Federal officials have met with the Taliban at least 13 times since the mass withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan last year. 

According to CBC News, documents show that Global Affairs Canada representatives as well as David Sproule, a senior Canadian official for Afghanistan, engaged the Taliban government on various issues including education for women and allowing Afghans to leave the country. 

The meetings took place in Qatar.

Despite the meetings, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that his government doesn’t intend on officially recognizing the Taliban’s rule over the country. 

“The reality is, along with international partners, we have to continue to press on them to respect womens’ rights, to make sure the girls can go to school, to help the safe passage of people who want to leave Afghanistan,” Trudeau told reporters. 

“There is a need to engage even though we will not be recognizing them.” 

According to Global Affairs, the meetings have been informal and involved other allies. 

Internal documents show that in turn the Taliban have made demands from Canada and have rejected the claim that Afghans were not allowed to leave. 

“(The Taliban claim that) people are using security as an excuse to leave the country, but are really leaving to seek economic opportunities,” wrote Sproule in a memo. 

One note says the Taliban requested that those “interested in helping women … should start by paying the salaries of 200,000 female teachers, including 28,000 in Kabul.”

In the communications, Sproule brought up the breach of a Canadian embassy building on Sept. 10, 2021. 

He expressed “concern about Taliban individuals entering our diplomatic property in Kabul in violation of Afghanistan’s treaty obligation to protect diplomatic property.”

In a statement to CBC News, Global Affairs Canada denied some of Taliban’s characterizations that they were respecting women’s rights and those seeking to flee the country. 

“The human rights situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate severely, especially with regard to secondary education for girls,” wrote Global Affairs in the statement. 

“(Canada is) deeply concerned about reports of extrajudicial punishments… such as reprisals and summary executions, disappearances and detentions.”


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