Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Canada and the governor

CBC had a report last night, "Afghan governor's rights abuses known in 2007" (video), which echoes some of what was in the Globe on the weekend in Graeme Smith's report. The Globe report largely centred on the governor of Kandahar, Asadullah Khalid, governor from 2005-2008, the torture rooms in his palace and the fact that Canadians - both military and diplomats - knew about this. Yet Canada backed the governor, even when Hamid Karzai wanted to get rid of him. As Aaron Wherry reminded us yesterday, the allegations about the governor sprouted publicly in early 2008.

In the CBC report last night, we learn that Chris Alexander, current star Conservative candidate in Ajax, informed Canadian officials, while he was working with the United Nations as special representative, that the governor was behind the bombing deaths of five UN workers. Alexander also informed Canadian officials that "...attacks on Internationals in Kandahar are increasingly being carried out by … narcotics interests, that have a stake in continued instability, rather than by insurgents." If you watch the video of the CBC report, it is made clear that the governor would be one of those "narcotics interests." What did Canada do in response to Alexander's information?
Despite the warnings that Canada's own ally in Afghanistan had killed UN workers, the Canadian government continued to work with Khalid.
Again, as you will see in the video, it is striking that a military officer who testified before the Military Police Complaints Commission two weeks ago, still speaks highly of the governor, describing him as a "character" and saying "he got it, he knew how his province ran," "he had his levers on all the controls." No kidding.

Another note:
Alexander, a former Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan, is now a federal Conservative candidate in Ontario. CBC News made several attempts to contact Alexander for further comment regarding this story, but he has not responded.
No, he wouldn't. He's in Conservative candidate land now where speaking to the media is not high on the list.

Wonder if Richard Colvin would ever run for the Conservatives.