Canada’s minister of women and gender equality says her mention of the Taliban as “our brothers” during a press conference Wednesday is a “cultural reference,” after receiving criticism for her choice of language.
Maryam Monsef – who was born in Iran and raised in Afghanistan – had a direct message for the terrorist group, which has swiftly taken control of most of Afghanistan since the U.S. began withdrawing its troops following a 20-year mission.
“I want to take this opportunity to speak with our brothers, the Taliban. We call on you to ensure the safe and secure passage of any individual in Afghanistan out of the country. We call on you to immediately stop the violence, the genocide, the femicide, the destruction of infrastructure, including heritage buildings,” she said, speaking alongside colleagues while providing an update about Canada’s efforts to evacuate Afghans from the country.