Canadian officials are evading questions about the man at the centre of the Kabul Airport heroin trafficking scandal, Afghan Attorney General Abdul Jabar Sabet, who is also a resident of Montreal.
This evasive response is alarming, since the heroin trade helps finance the Taliban’s war effort against the 2,300 Canadian troops deployed with NATO forces in and around Kandahar province. Tragically, six Canadians were killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol yesterday.
Heroin-fuelled corruption is eroding what little credibility remains of the Western sponsored Karzai government. This, in turn, undermines the chances of success for NATO’s quest to bring stability and reconstruction to Afghanistan.
Yet officials of two Canadian government departments continue to dodge questions about the airport mystery. Skyreporter.com has now referred the list of queries to the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Abdul Jabar Sabet entered Canada during the Taliban era. His family still resides in Quebec, where Sabet regularly attended the Masjid as-Salam mosque in downtown Montreal. In recent years, Sabet went back to work in Afghanistan as a lawyer at the Interior Ministry. Sources close to President Karzai say that in return for cooperating with U.S. officials seeking positive statements from Afghan officials about the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, Sabet received U.S. support for promotion to the Attorney General’s post.
A former Karzai intimate tells skyreporter: “Sabet is able enough to prepare a legal brief, but he is totally incapable of exercising executive authority.” An Afghan Foreign Ministry official puts it much more darkly. “As his past shows, the man is unstable.”
That’s where the mystery begins over Sabet’s entry to Canada – a mystery as troubling as the Attorney General’s campaign against one of Afghanistan’s most accomplished anti-narcotics officers, General Aminullah Amerkhel. Last autumn Sabet suspended Amerkel from his post as police chief of Kabul Airport. Several law enforcement sources in the capital confirm that the flow of smuggled heroin increased after Amerkhel’s removal. (Please see the AFGHAN HEROIN series of film reports at skyreporter.com)
In contrast to Amerkhel’s spotless career, Sabet’s path is remarkable for its mediocrity – except in his past relationships with extremists. He was a long-time aide to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, currently one of America’s most-wanted terrorists, and an ally of Osama bin Laden. Years ago, Sabet worked in the U.S. for the Voice of America – until being terminated due to his ongoing links with Hekmatyar, and forced to leave.
The question is: did Sabet declare these circumstances when applying for entry to Canada in the late 1990’s? Anyone applying for entry into Canada who fails to state all pertinent background information can be found to have committed a material misrepresentation, raising the possibility of an inadmissibility hearing, and, potentially, an exclusion order.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada say they have no record of Sabet’s name. A CIC spokesperson tells skyreporter.com that Immigration officials will not refer to Canadian Embassy officials in Kabul for further clarification.
Which raises other legitimate questions. Did Sabet use an alternate spelling of his name when he gained entry into Canada? Or an alias? What passport did he apply with, and under what circumstances? Did officials of the then-Liberal government support Sabet’s application? If so, were they unaware of his past, and was this purposely concealed from them?
Skyreporter referred these queries back to Foreign Affairs Canada. Their spokesman insists that only Immigration officials may comment on the matter. So the truth about Sabet’s status remains concealed.
It’s a bewildering situation. Canada sponsors, finances and defends the Karzai government with the lives of its own young men and women. Yet Canadian officials spurn legitimate queries into dubious personalities exercising arbitrary powers and eroding the government’s credibility from within.
Fortunately, information continues to flow from other sources. President Karzai’s shadowy, accident-prone Attorney General continues to wreak controversy with botched investigations, with alleged criminality by at least one of his senior appointees, and with his own failure to take on top-level abuses of power.
More next on skyreporter.com.