Canadian journalist shot in Afghanistan says Canadian gov't never reached out
Michelle Zilio, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, February 8, 2015 12:55PM EST
Last Updated Monday, April 6, 2015 10:23AM EDT
A Canadian journalist who was shot six times and severely injured in Afghanistan last year says the Canadian government never reached out to her following the attack.
Kathy Gannon, an Associated Press special regional correspondent for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told CTV's Question Period that aside from arranging a passport for her medical evacuation from Afghanistan, the Canadian government never contacted her after she was shot.
"Not even a phone call saying, 'So how you doing?' Or any sort of follow up with the person who did this," said Gannon. "No suggestion of assistance in any way from the Canadian government, which really surprised me."
Last April, Gannon and Germany photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus were covering the national Afghan election in the eastern part of the country when an Afghan police officer opened fire on them while they were waiting in the back seat of a car. Niedringhaus was killed and Gannon was severely injured.
Gannon was shot three times at close range in her left arm, once in her right shoulder, shattering her shoulder bone and collapsing a lung, and two times around her right wrist. She has undergone 14 reconstructive surgeries and still wears bandages on her left arm as she attempts to get mobility back in her hands.
Western impact on Afghanistan
Gannon, originally from Timmins, Ont., has covered stories in Afghanistan and Pakistan for more than 25 years. As she recovers in Canada, she continues to follow developments in the region. In fact, former president Hamid Karzai called her on Christmas to chat.
Gannon says while Afghan cities and districts are largely under government control today, many rural areas in the south and east are still in the Taliban’s hands. And although there have been many questions about whether the West, including Canada, pulled troops out of Afghanistan too early, Gannon thinks the conversation should be focused on what those forces did while they were on the ground.
"It's what was done while everybody was there … that really needs the examination - the involvement or the way in which the Afghan security was built, … the lack of development of institutions and infrastructure that would allow even the beginnings of a state to take hold," said Gannon.
ISIS in Afghanistan?
Gannon said that while ISIS is a "drawing card" for many Islamic extremist wannabes, she thinks the group is probably focusing on fighting in Syria and Iraq right now. But she doesn't doubt that some Pakistanis and Afghans have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight.
Heading back to Afghanistan?
Despite everything she has been through, Gannon says she intends to go back to Afghanistan as soon as she is well enough to work again. She credited The Associated Press with supporting her through her recovery process.
"Fingers crossed - which I can do now and I couldn't do before - in the fall, I am hoping I can be back in Afghanistan."