The Current

Fighting ISIS: Canada's role renews calls for Afghan detainee inquiry

In 2009, Diplomat Richard Colvin testified that Canada was complicit in the torture of Afghan prisoners. It was a scandal that nearly toppled the Harper government. But it faded away as the years passed on. Now, with a new government in Ottawa, there are calls to revisit the detainee controversy.
A suspected Taliban prisoner sits with his hands strapped and guarded by members of 1st Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, after a raid on a compound in Northern Kandahar, 08 May 2006. Rideau Institute is calling for a public inquiry into the Afgan detainee scandal. (John D McHugh/AFP/Getty Images)
"I don't think Canadians will accept that it is over. I think you will have a lot of Canadians who will look at the documents and will ask a lot of legitimate questions that are very troubling."- Stephane Dion, then Liberal MP in 2011 responding to Afghan detainee scandal

Thousands of highly redacted documents had finally been released relating to the transfer of suspected Taliban prisoners by the Canadian military to the Afghan National Directorate of Security.

There were grave concerns that some of the prisoners had been tortured by Afghan forces after the Canadians handed them over.

Amidst promises of military advisors to fight ISIS, questions linger about Canada's role in the abuse of Afghan detainees. (John D McHugh/AFP/Getty Images)

To this day, big questions remain about what actually happened, and what role Canadian Forces might have played. And amidst promises to send more Canadian military trainers to help support the fight against ISIS, there are renewed calls for a public inquiry to get to the bottom of what happened in Afghanistan. 

Peggy Mason is among those calling for an inquiry. She's the president of the Rideau Institute and the former Canadian ambassador to the U.N. 

REPORT: Torture of Afghan Detainees: Canada's Alleged Complicity and the Need for a Public Inquiry

Murray Brewster knows the story of the Canadian war in Afghanistan all too well. He is the senior defence writer for Canadian Press and the author of "The Savage War: The Untold Battles of Afghanistan." He's also the writer and co-producer of Kandahar Journals.

We asked Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan to clarify some of the issues raised about his time in Afghanistan. We did not hear back. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade sent us a statement in which it says the Canadian government's practices:

"surrounding the treatment and transfer of Afghan detainees were consistent with our international obligations"

and that

"The Government of Canada has always been committed to ensuring that Canadian transferred detainees are handled and transferred in accordance with our obligations under international law."

This segment was produced by Gord Westmacott and Howard Goldenthal.