Canada ‘disappointed’ over exclusion of non-Taliban Afghans at Doha meeting

Photo: Reuters

OTTAWA — Canada’s Department of Global Affairs has expressed “extreme disappointment” over the exclusion of non-Taliban Afghan participants from the main sessions of the third round of the Doha meeting.

In a statement issued following David Sproule, Canada’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, participation in the third meeting of Special Envoys on Afghanistan, Canada criticized the absence of non-Taliban Afghan participants, including women’s advocates, religious and ethnic minorities, and human rights groups.

“Canada has clearly expressed for weeks—both privately and in concert with other governments—its grave disappointment about the absence of civil society from Doha III,” the statement read.

The statement emphasized that the “full, equal and meaningful participation” of Afghan women in the Doha meeting process is not only a core tenet of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda, but fundamental to achieving a peaceful, stable, and inclusive Afghanistan.

“None of the goals that Afghans are seeking to achieve are possible without the full participation of women,” the statement continued.

Canada noted its ongoing consultations with Afghan civil society, human rights groups, and women to hear their concerns and vowed to use its platform at the Doha meeting to amplify the messages of those who have courageously spoken out about human rights abuses committed by the Taliban but were not invited to the main meetings.

The statement also stressed the importance of appointing a UN special envoy for Afghanistan to spearhead the implementation of the roadmap outlined in the UN Special Coordinator’s 2023 report and UN Security Council Resolution 2721.

Canada reiterated its call for the Taliban to honor Afghanistan’s international human rights obligations and lift restrictive measures on women and girls.