OTTAWA, ON (August 27, 2021): From the Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan, Amrullah Saleh, the former First Vice President and now acting President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, has vowed to remain in the country and fight the Taliban. In an exclusive message to Canadians through the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Saleh urges Canada not to give up on a country where so many Canadians fought, worked and died to bring a better life to Afghans.
“The Pakistan-backed Taliban have no legitimacy over Afghans, and should have no legitimacy bestowed upon them by Canada or the West,” stated Foreign Policy Program Director and Munk Senior Fellow, Shuvaloy Majumdar. “The Afghan constitution confirmed through six elections by the Afghan people provides an opportunity in Amrullah Saleh’s leadership, and in his appeal to Canadians to dispense with the axioms of the past and support the Afghan people in ensuring the country cannot become a haven for terror networks again.”
"This is a message to Canadians and through us to supporters of democracy and freedom everywhere. Amrullah Saleh reminds us all that he and others are still resisting invasion and repression — fighting for the values that first took Canadian soldiers to Afghanistan in 2001. Now more than ever, Afghans deserve our support," says former Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan, Chris Alexander.
Highlights from Acting President Amrullah Saleh’s message:
There are still many Afghans who believe in freedom and pluralism, and who are willing to keep fighting for these values. They need Canadians' support more than ever.
"Afghanistan is not dead, it's wounded," says Saleh. "Freedom is not dead, it's wounded. Liberty is not dead, it's wounded. Afghanistan is savable. The Afghan cause is not lost. Different tools, different strategies, different policies are needed to reverse the situation."
Saleh does not prioritize an ongoing military commitment by the West to Afghanistan, instead, he articulates the kind of support the West could provide. Specifically, he asks Canada and allied nations to:
- Acknowledge the role of Pakistan in destabilizing Afghanistan and pressure Pakistan to withdraw its support for the Taliban.
- Provide moral, political and if possible, material support to Afghans resisting Taliban rule.
- Listen to Afghans. The current failure is a result of political misjudgments caused by a lack of understanding of the country.
In his message, Saleh thanks Canadians for their work, sacrifice and support for Afghanistan. He rebukes those who claim that Afghans didn't fight for their country against the Taliban.
"Millions and millions of Afghans aren't going to flee, they want to stay. I want you generous Canadians, kind Canadians, to stay with the majority," says Saleh.
You can read Acting President Amrullah Saleh's full message here.
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