Photo: Afghanistan Embassy in Ottawa via Facebook

Canada Rejected Taliban’s Bid for Afghanistan Embassy in Ottawa

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – Canada says it has rejected the Taliban’s bid to take control of Afghanistan’s embassy and consulates in the country, stating that it does not recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

The Trudeau government, as reported  by the National Post, did not even respond to the Taliban’s 2022 letter, which sought to take control of Afghanistan’s embassy and consulates in the country.

Marilyne Guèvremont, an official from Global Affairs Canada, was quoted as saying, “Canada does not recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, and will never do so. It will not receive or accredit any foreign representative appointed by the Taliban, or establish formal relations with the Taliban de facto authorities.”

The Afghanistan embassy and consulates in Canada are still operated by diplomats appointed by the previous government. According to the news agency, these diplomats have had no communication with the Taliban’s foreign ministry and have neither requested nor received funding from the current regime in Kabul.

The diplomatic mission in Canada relies on fees from consular services, such as validating Afghan driving licenses for those needing to convert them to Canadian licenses. 

Canada was an important ally of the United States’ war efforts in Afghanistan with considerable troop presence in the country, mainly in Kandahar, a Taliban stronghold, from 2006 to 2011. In nearly two decades of war in Afghanistan, the country incurred an estimated cost of $18 billion, $2 billion which was   development aid.

Since their takeover of Afghanistan, no country has officially recognized the ruling regime. However, many neighboring and regional countries have kept their embassies operational or reopened diplomatic missions in Afghanistan.

Russia, China, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, and India are among the countries that have maintained or reopened their diplomatic missions in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover.

However, to date, China stands as the only country to officially accept the letter of credence from the Taliban-appointed ambassador in Beijing. Furthermore, it was the first country to appoint a new ambassador for its embassy in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

The rest of the group have handed over Afghanistan diplomatic missions to Taliban diplomats who were already present in those countries, many of whom served as diplomats of the former government but with ties to the insurgency.

China’s move was welcomed by the ruling regime in Kabul as a positive step toward their recognition by the international community. Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s chief spokesman, told The Associated Press that Beijing’s decision “signals to other countries to come forward and interact with the Islamic Emirate.” 

The spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada told the National Post that the Taliban has requested other countries to accept its diplomats as well. However, according to him, all have rejected the Taliban’s request.

“The Taliban lack national and international legitimacy. They seized power unconstitutionally,” he said. “In addition to this, the Taliban’s approach to many critical issues such as inclusion, women’s rights, education and international relations is fully incompatible with our shared values and international norms,” he added.

Chris Alexander, a former Canadian Conservative MP and cabinet member under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, was quoted by the news agency as saying, “They [Taliban] are the most repressive, misogynist, terrorist regime to have taken power in any country in living memory. We should be sanctioning their leaders, their sponsors in Pakistan and their partners like Qatar, while finding ways to deliver grassroots humanitarian support and to back armed resistance.”