Canada’s tortured past in Afghanistan revisited by new podcast
It was an issue that nearly brought down Stephen Harper’s government, until on December 30, 2009 the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament. Opposition MPs cried foul, accusing the Conservatives of trying to prevent further inquiries into Canada’s handling of detainees during the war in Afghanistan, in what was known as the Afghan Detainee scandal.
Having demanded an investigation while in Opposition, the Trudeau Liberals reversed course and refused to hold an inquiry after they were elected in 2015. Then Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said, “the government of Canada does not believe an independent judicial commission of inquiry is necessary.
The popular podcast series “Commons,” has been looking back at Canada and the war in Afghanistan, and its most recent episode is entitled “Tortured Pasts.”
The Afghan Detainee scandal became the defining story of Canada’s war in Kandahar. It exposed Canada’s complicity and direct involvement in war crimes. And it helped fuel the insurgency that eventually brought down the Afghan government.
Despite repeated denials by senior government and military officials, there’s evidence that many Canadians knew they were sending Afghans to be tortured.
So why did so few people do anything to stop it? And what role did Harjit Sajjan, Trudeau’s first Minister of Defence, play in ensuring that the full story will never come out?
Featured in the episode of Commons is Ahmad Malgarai, Amir Attaran, Sharif Sharaf, Craig Scott, Harjit Sajjan
You may wish to listen to previous episodes, as well:
WAR #1 – Last Plane Out of Kabul – The true story of the end of one of the forever wars through the eyes of the people who were there.
WAR #2 – Lords of War – In the months after 9/11, Canadian special forces were participating in secret operations at the behest of some of the most sinister men in Afghanistan.
WAR #3 – Tarnak Farms – All of a sudden, they see a blast, and chaos surrounds them. What happens next would change their lives—and the Canadian military—forever.
WAR #4 – Medusa – Operation Medusa has become the most celebrated battle in recent Canadian history. It was hailed as a stroke of military genius that may have vanquished the Taliban once and for all.
WAR #5 – The Narcokings of Kandahar – Why did so many Afghans join with the Taliban during the years that Canada was fighting in Kandahar?
WAR #6 – Tortured Pasts – Despite repeated denials by senior government and military officials, there’s evidence that many Canadians knew they were sending Afghans to be tortured.
(Cover: Kabul, Afghanistan, August 1 2021, refugee children after the collapse of the country in August 2021 by the Taliban in the North of the country. Via Shutterstock.)