Officials at the embassy in Kabul were warned Feb. 15 that other countries were worried about the proposed Shiite family law.
But the diplomats had no specific knowledge about the provisions of the law or when it was to be considered by the Afghan parliament, say the documents obtained by the federal New Democrats.
The law gives sweeping powers to Shiite husbands over their wives, effectively legalizing rape within a marriage. The legislation triggered international outrage when it was signed into law by President Hamid Karzai five weeks later.
Soraya Sobharang, a prominent member of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, testified before the same committee via teleconference that Western countries let down the women of her country. She said Canada needs to be more vigilant about intervening on human-rights matters.
Once Canadian officials had heard the law was passed they had trouble tracking down details and getting the legislation translated, the summary said.
Diplomats tried to secure meetings with Karzai and his top ministers, but it wasn't until mid-April that ambassador Ron Hoffmann had a face-to-face meeting with the president.
The Afghan government is reviewing the law, but Sobharang was not confident the measures will be overturned. She warned in May that she was worried that similar legislation would be introduced for the majority Sunni population.
So ... here are the questions:
1. If Canadian diplomats knew but didn't think it worth a briefing, what do they understand about our mission in Afghanistan?
2. If Canadian diplomats knew and actually did give the government a briefing, why didn't we hear about this law sooner?
3. Why are Canadian men and women dying to keep Karzai in power?