Review finds successes, failures in Liberals' feminist aid approach in Afghanistan
An internal review of the nearly $1 billion in foreign aid that Canada quietly spent in Afghanistan in the six years after the Canadian military pulled out has found some successes but also many failures, especially when it comes to helping women and girls.
Global Affairs Canada's review covers the period between 2014 and 2020, when Afghanistan remained a top destination for Ottawa's aid dollars even after the last Canadian troops had left and public attention drifted elsewhere.
Reviewers found that Canada's efforts, almost entirely focused on empowering and supporting Afghan women and girls as part of the Liberal government's feminist aid policy, had led to some tangible progress.
That included the adoption of gender equality in some Afghan institutions, a decrease in violence against women in some communities, more educational opportunities for girls and better health-care services for both.
Yet the reviewers also found the feminist approach didn't take proper account of Afghanistan's culture and Islamic tradition, which hurt overall Canadian aid efforts and might have even put some Afghan women and girls at risk.
The reviewers also warned that any progress is extremely fragile given the lack of peace and stability.