Canadian officials on Friday denied media reports that Canadian military troops in Afghanistan ever paid off Taliban in exchange for not being attacked.
The denial came after the Agence France-Presse reported that Canadian soldiers tried to buy off insurgents citing an unnamed Western military source. A British newspaper also reported Friday that Italian military and intelligence officials had handed over money to the Taliban in exchange for peace.
Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay said Friday it was the first time he was hearing of the report and described it as likely “Taliban propaganda.”
“I would rely on military officials on the ground to be aware if such a thing were happening,” MacKay said in the eastern city of St. John’s, according to the Canadian Press.
“I strongly suspect that this is more Taliban propaganda. Of course, they’re not bound by rules of engagement or simple things such as truth.”
A spokesperson from the Canadian troops in Kandahar said Friday the report is “totally baseless.”
Major Mario Couture told the Canadian Press that Canadian soldiers do pay out sums to Afghans who agree to hand in their weapons, while offering others paid work to encourage them to turn their backs on the Taliban, but they have never tried to buy off Talibans