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Canada

Canadian MPs say Ottawa must help women who were Afghan lawmakers escape Taliban

OTTAWA — An all-party group of MPs is calling on the Canadian government to help Afghan women who were lawmakers before the Taliban takeover get to safety.

Police in Kabul said Sunday that former MP Mursal Nabizada and her bodyguard were shot dead by unknown attackers.

She was among the few female parliamentarians who stayed in the capital city after the Taliban seized power in August 2021.

Six Canadian MPs say in a joint statement that they have worked together since last October to bring the nine remaining women to Canada.

They say the situation in Afghanistan is more dangerous by the day and the Taliban are controlling women with a “brutal gender apartheid system.”

The MPs say Canada has a moral responsibility to help the women flee the country.

“For the sake of the lives of these eight women, we urge the Canadian government to act on this matter urgently and take immediate action to assist in getting these women to safety,” the statement says. 

The group includes Bloc Québécois MP Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, the Green Party’s Elizabeth May, the NDP’s Heather McPherson, the Conservatives’ Alex Ruff and the Liberals’ Marcus Powlowski and Leah Taylor Roy.

Their statement adds that no woman is safe in Afghanistan under the Taliban.

“But this is particularly so for these brave women MPs who led the way in opening up public and civic space for women and girls under the previous Afghan government.” 

Nabizada was elected in 2019 to represent Kabul and stayed in office until the Taliban takeover.

She was a member of the parliamentary defence commission and worked at a private non-governmental group, the Institute for Human Resources Development and Research.

Local police chief Molvi Hamidullah Khalid said on the weekend that investigations into her death are underway. He did not answer questions about possible motives.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2023.

— With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press