Nepali guards sue Canada government

Family members went to the Tribhuvan International Airport in June 2016 to collect the corpses of the Nepalis killed in Afghanistan.

Widows of the 13 Nepalis killed in the 2016 Kabul attack and five survivors have sued the Canada government for neglecting the safety of the Gurkhas hired to guard its embassy in Afghanistan.

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In a lawsuit filed at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto on Tuesday, they have also named Sabre International -- the private security firm that hired Nepali guards to protect the Canadian embassy in Kabul -- as a defendant.

The lawsuit was filed on the eve of the second anniversary of the Kabul attack. On 20 June 2016, 13 Nepali guards were killed and five injured when they were travelling to the Canadian embassy on an unarmored bus. A lone suicide bomber blew the bus up.

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Nepali guards were made to live away from the embassy, and they used to make a risky journey to their duty station every day. The plaintiffs have asked the Canada government what measures it had taken to protect the Nepalis guarding its people and property in Kabul.

They have sought $20.4 million in compensation and damages from the Canada government and Sabre International. Widows of the victims and survivors claim that Sabre International owed $300,000 to each of them in compensation, but they have received only a fraction of their dues. They have asked the Canada government to pay the amount yet unpaid by Sabre International.

After the Kabul attack, Sabre International terminated its contract with the Canadian embassy, and shut down all its contact offices in Afghanistan as well as in Nepal. Sabre is no longer operating, and a legal notice is yet to be served to it.

Canadian lawyer Joe Fiorante, who is representing the Nepali plaintiffs, has told CBC: "These men died in the service of our country and have basically been cast aside…They were abandoned by our government and we thought that was dishonourable and frankly unacceptable."

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