Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan


Nine innocent men, women and children were gunned down by the Taliban in a senseless killing at the Serena Hotel on the eve of the Afghan new year and spring celebration, Nowruz.Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with the families of all of the victims.

Today we learned that two of the victims were Canadian women, which, of course, brings this tragedy so close to home. The news of this attack is gut wrenching and every one of our members and supporters at Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan both across Canada and in Afghanistan condemns this violence.

Thank you to our many members who have been emailing and calling with condolences for the families of these victims. We are honoured to pass on these messages expressing the great loss for their families, the people of Afghanistan and the world. Together, we join in grieving such meaningless loss of innocent lives.


We applaud the courageous work in the education sector that was being carried out by these two remarkable Canadian women who were tragically lost yesterday: Dr. Roshan Thomas and Ms. Zeenab Kassam. These were women dedicated to serving the Afghan people and this is a tremendous loss for Afghanistan and for Canada, and the Ismaili community.


It is more critical now than ever, that the international community, including Canada, stays committed to the Afghan people and to fighting terrorism like the kind unleashed yesterday at the Serena Hotel, the third deadly attack on the hotel since 2008. The Taliban’s aim in this current campaign of violence is to disrupt the elections next month and to keep Afghan citizens, voters, elections observers, aid workers, journalists and others fearful. These murders are also designed to deter the international community from supporting the elections, a process which explicitly undermines the Taliban’s agenda to impose a non-democratic, despotic government over the people of Afghanistan.


Despite the current violence, we at CW4WAfghan are hopeful that security will improve after the elections. We anticipate improved governance and improved relations between the Afghan Government and the international community. In particular, as an organization working to advance education in Afghanistan, we draw our hope for Afghanistan’s future peace and stability from the millions of Afghan men, women and children pursuing an education. We are elated by the incredible progress we have witnessed on the ground over the past decade. Such progress is only possible on account of the tireless work of individuals in Afghanistan, including brave Afghan citizens and visitors like Canadians Roshan Thomas and Zeenab Kassam.

With the departure of Canadian troops this month from Kabul we do fear a loss of interest on the part of the media and the public. Throughout our work in Afghan communities we witness so much progress being made every day in the classrooms in Afghanistan, and the drive and determination that Afghans have to better their society. In honour of the many lives lost and to protect Canada’s investments in the country over the past decade, we must not lose sight of this progress and we urge Canadians to do all that they can to continue the good work of those who have made this ultimate sacrifice. We hope that the legacy of their work will continue.

Just like the attack on young Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan, these murders of Afghans and Canadians only serve to strengthen our resolve to continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and to rid this planet of such violence, murder and oppression. Because human rights are universal.