The risk

CBC gets hold of a summer 2009 warning about Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security.

The Conservative government was warned last summer that working with the Afghan secret police would lead to allegations Canada condoned abuse and that Canadians could face legal liability for complicity in torture. The information, contained in a candid top-level government memo shared with CBC News, shows that officials were worried that Canada’s relationship with the Afghan National Directorate of Security was risky — and possibly illegal — even while the government was defending it.

The document warns that the directorate, or NDS, is so secretive, even Canada and its allies are in the dark about much of what it does. The NDS has wider powers of arrest and detention than most intelligence agencies, the memo says, and as a result, “there is considerable scope for the use of improper methods.” Engaging with the NDS “entails a degree of risk to Canadian interests,” it adds.

Terry Milewski’s full report is here.

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