Experts say Canada faces a “problem” when it comes to providing humanitarian aid to Taliban-run Afghanistan.
On the one hand, economic collapse, food shortages and the need for aid to help Afghans crumbling health care system.
Canada, on the other hand, would not want to provide aid that would help strengthen the Taliban, said Aurel Braun, a professor of international relations and political science at the University of Toronto.
“If we send food, which doesn’t seem unreasonable, how can we be sure that the food doesn’t go to feed the Taliban soldiers and the terrorist regime, but to the population?” He told Granthshala News.
“We’re facing the kind of classic dilemma that happens when you’re dealing with a terrible regime.”
the issue of World leaders faced humanitarian aid on Tuesday During the special meeting of the G20. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who led the meeting, told reporters at a news conference that the leaders unanimously agreed about the need to deal with the humanitarian crisis.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was part of the meeting, and a senior government source told Granthshala News he said humanitarian aid to the Taliban should be allowed to continue in a free manner. He also raised the need to motivate the Taliban to respect the rights of Afghans, especially women and girls, and urged countries to accept more refugees.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that 18 million Afghans – half the country’s population – will be affected by the crisis, and joined the meeting to emphasize the role of the UN as many countries do not want direct ties with the Taliban.
Joseph Ingram, a fellow at the Canadian Granthshala Affairs Institute, said there are other avenues for those countries to provide aid.
Ingram said Canada could work with humanitarian partners such as the United Nations that have operations in Afghanistan.
“Those organizations are better represented on the ground in rural areas and urban areas … and will often be able to work directly with NGOs,” he said.
In fact, Canada is working with organizations such as the World Food Program and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to assist Afghans.
In August, the government announced that it would allocate $50 million for initial humanitarian aid, in addition to the $27.3 million already allocated for Afghanistan in 2021.
Washington is also taking this approach and said that the G20 leaders reaffirmed their commitments to help Afghans through these organisations. In his summary of Tuesday’s meeting.
However, this is a less than perfect situation, Ingram said, and the Taliban is going to be suspicious of any foreign aid coming from the West.
“There are going to be risks of abuse, but they are in a better position to know whether NGOs are effective or not, whether they are frontiers or independents for the government,” he said.
“It is important that the Government of Canada works closely with UN organizations or international organizations that are close to the non-governmental sector.”
However, right now experts believe that Canada should focus on sending medical aid to help the people of Afghanistan.
As winter approaches, the COVID-19 and influenza situation in Afghans may worsen.
“Sending the drug is unlikely to help the Taliban that much… We don’t want to see the conflict of COVID and the evolution of new mutations of the virus,” Brown said.
“We should try to help in areas where we have some security.”
Since the Taliban came to power on August 15, Afghanistan has seen its economy collapse, leading to an influx of refugees.
Several countries, including Canada, have condemned the Taliban and said they would not recognize them as the government of Afghanistan.
Although so, Draghi said some governments would have no choice but to continue dialogue with the Taliban.
“It’s very difficult to see how you can help people in Afghanistan without involving the Taliban… but that doesn’t mean recognizing them,” he said.
Since coming back to power, the Taliban have promised that they were a more liberal force than they last ruled the country from 1996 to 2001, and would allow women and girls to continue their work and education.
However, Guterres has said that the Taliban has broken promises to guarantee those rights, and that there is no way Afghanistan’s economy will recover if women are not allowed to work.
Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaki on Monday refrained from making firm commitments on girls’ education despite international demands, saying the Islamic Emirate’s government cannot be expected to complete reforms so rapidly.
Moving forward, Canada must hold the Taliban accountable by using United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which Afghanistan agreed to in 2015, Ingram said.
Those goals include eradicating poverty, hunger, ensuring quality education, and gender equality.
“If they want to get international support … they need to adhere to those Sustainable Development Goals,” Ingram said.
“If they don’t, there will be civil unrest in the country, civil war will recur, they will fall back into corrupt regimes and … the government will eventually fall.”
–With files from Reuters and The Associated Press.