Ottawa will continue sending humanitarian and development assistance to Afghanistan after the United States completes its troop withdrawal from the country next month, International Development Minister Karina Gould says.
U.S. President Joe Biden said last week the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan will end Aug. 31, nearly 20 years after the United States and its allies took down the Taliban government in Kabul.
Biden pushed back against the notion the U.S. mission has failed but also noted it was unlikely the Afghan government would control all of Afghanistan after the U.S. leaves.
He urged the Afghan government and the Taliban, which he said remains as formidable as it did before the start of the war, to come to a peace agreement.
Gould said in an interview that Canada is constantly monitoring and evaluating the situation through dialogue with its partners including non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies.
“At this point in time, our partners continue to work and deliver services for the Afghan people.”
Global Affairs Canada spokesman Grantly Franklin said Ottawa calls for a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire to end the interminable suffering of the Afghan people and facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance.
“Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan prioritizes peace, democracy, and human rights,” he said in a statement.
According to government data, about 40,000 Canadians served in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014, with Canada providing a total of $3.6 billion in aid to the country since 2001.
Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan have contributed to a real improvement in the lives of the most vulnerable, Franklin said. “Women and children, in particular, have better access to education, health, and human rights, and Canada will do its utmost to preserve these gains.”
In November, Canada pledged $270 million in additional development assistance through 2024.
July 13, 2021