Canada’s Law Banning Dealings With Taliban Could Be Tweaked to Get More Aid to Afghans: Minister

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OTTAWA—A instrumentality outlawing immoderate dealings with the Taliban, which charities kick is impeding their quality to assistance needy Afghans, could beryllium adjusted by the national authorities to springiness much flexibility to assistance agencies.

International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan said the authorities is looking astatine making changes to the instrumentality to make “flexibility” to marque humanitarian assistance easier.

But, successful an interrogation with The Canadian Press, helium insisted Canada would not assistance the Taliban’s designation arsenic a prescribed violent organization.

“We are looking astatine options connected what we tin bash to make that flexibility that different countries have,” helium said. “The U.S. presently tin bash much enactment than us, astatine slightest person the options to bash much things there. We are looking astatine akin exemptions we tin make arsenic agelong arsenic we tin support up the unit connected the Taliban, arsenic it is simply a violent entity.”

A instrumentality listing the Taliban arsenic a violent enactment was passed successful 2013, earlier the allies withdrew and the Taliban seized power of Kabul and formed a de facto authorities past year.

Under the anti−terrorist leglislation, Canadians could look up to 10 years successful situation if they, straight oregon indirectly, marque disposable spot oregon finances to the Taliban.

Canadian assistance agencies moving successful Afghanistan kick the instrumentality is impeding their enactment due to the fact that they cannot assistance anyone who whitethorn person authoritative dealings with the Afghan government, including radical paying rent oregon taxes.

They person besides criticized Canada for not adjusting its regulations pursuing a December 2021 UN Security Council solution which said “humanitarian assistance and different activities that enactment basal quality needs successful Afghanistan” would not interruption the council’s sanctions regime.

Giving grounds to a peculiar parliamentary committee connected Afghanistan earlier this year, Michael Messenger, president of World Vision Canada, said Canada was “out of step” with different countries, including the U.S., which person made changes to marque humanitarian assistance easier pursuing the UN resolution.

Ten humanitarian organizations made a submission to the parliamentary committee calling connected ministers to unbend its laws truthful they could enactment connected the crushed successful Afghanistan without fearfulness of breaching Canada’s anti−terrorism laws.

In its authoritative study past month, the committee recommended that the authorities “ensure that registered Canadian organizations person the clarity and assurances needed — specified arsenic carve−outs oregon exemptions — to present humanitarian assistance and conscionable basal needs successful Afghanistan without fearfulness of prosecution for violating Canada’s anti−terrorism laws.”

Sajjan said, contempt the prohibitions connected dealing with the Taliban, Canada had continued to springiness immense sums of assistance to Afghanistan done agencies including the UN and Red Cross.

But helium acknowledged the law, brought successful earlier the Taliban formed the government, was preventing immoderate assistance work, including “development projects wherever you person to enactment done the government’s structure.”

He said Canada had pumped astir $150 cardinal into Afghanistan, including assistance to assistance radical pursuing the caller earthquake that killed much than 1,000 radical and near much than 1,500 injured.

The earthquake struck a distant portion adjacent the Pakistan border, damaging much than 10,000 homes, astir of which are made from clay and mud. Immediately aft the earthquake, the Taliban issued a telephone for assistance from the planetary community.

“The instrumentality has not prevented america from helping the Afghan people,” the planetary improvement curate said. “We tin inactive assistance the Afghan radical but we are inactive looking astatine the options of however to get the exemptions.”

Lauryn Oates, enforcement manager of Canadian Women for Women successful Afghanistan, said humanitarian groups were getting conflicting ineligible proposal connected what the rules accidental they tin and cannot bash successful Afghanistan.

She said the anti−terrorism instrumentality was stopping Canadian assistance workers paying section taxes, including connected rent oregon salaries. But assistance workers could look imprisonment successful Afghanistan if they don’t wage taxes, nether section laws.

The instrumentality is besides making it harder to money scholarships for Afghan women and girls astatine backstage universities and creating immense amounts of paperwork, she said. A assistance tin lone present beryllium granted if the assemblage signs undertakings pledging that the money, adjacent tiny sums, would not beryllium utilized to wage tax.

Oates said she feared a instrumentality alteration could instrumentality years erstwhile assistance is urgently needed successful the impoverished country.

“We request an innovative, interim solution now,” she said. “Other countries person been capable to travel up with them and Canada is lagging behind.”

By Marie Woolf

The Canadian Press