Canada crawls towards helping while Afghans continue to suffer

by Melad Ahmadzai

OPINION: Canada has remained numb to the recent actions of the Taliban in Afghanistan as the world is beginning to recognize the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan. The group best known to Canadians and worldwide as insurgents is quickly gaining popularity, but this group and affiliated groups attacked Canadian soldiers and American forces during the war.

Lives on both sides were lost to Afghan people and foreign forces. To this day, many people and I have doubts about this war. It was politics, kind of. We were persuaded that democracy would work in war-torn Afghanistan. It did not, and we were all wrong.

Last week, the US Biden administration unfroze about $3.5 billion to support Afghan people. Now that the foreign occupation is over and in the absence of a policy, it remains to be seen how aid funds will be disbursed to needy Afghans. God only knows if this money will reach individual Afghans, and if not, what will it be used for?

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has remained silent. He appears to be overwhelmed with the current situation on Parliament Hill with the trucker protest. It remains to be seen if he will fulfill the pledge he made to “continue to work every single day … to save as many people as possible.” Will he at least follow in the footsteps of President Biden?

Canada is currently the least generous donor to Afghanistan. The country has only contributed approximately $50 million this year. The majority of Afghan people are desperately waiting for help. The World Food Programme states that 1 in 3 Afghan people are hungry, and 2 million Afghan children are malnourished. The humanitarian crisis is only getting worse in Afghanistan; they need shelter, food, medicine, and other essentials to survive.

When the Taliban was coming to power, they executed all Afghan forces that they could visually identify on the streets of Kabul. The former Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, accused of stealing millions of dollars, successfully escaped to the Middle East while the media ran his prerecorded videos on national television. We all witnessed this on YouTube.

Today, we are again informed that these funds are meant to reach needy Afghans. What if the funds help equip and grow the insurgent group once again?

The Canadian government can choose between war and politics by implementing a policy that will address the commitments they made to help Afghan people and their families.

Melad Ahmadzai is the CEO of Taleam Systems and lives in Ottawa.

Photo: World Food Programme, Sadeq Naseri