Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague and fellow member of the Special Committee on Afghanistan for the opportunity to speak to this important topic. I also want to thank him for his service to Canada and say that his contributions at committee are always insightful.
Canada's response to the collapse of the Afghan government and the Taliban's seizure of power in August 2021 was one of the largest, most challenging and complex international crisis operations in recent decades. It involved the first Canadian-led non-combatant evacuation operations since the 2006 operation in Lebanon.
Through close co-operation with our international partners, we supported and continue to support eligible individuals wanting to leave Afghanistan. Following the signing of the Doha agreement in February 2020, Canada began to prepare for a worsening security situation. We closely monitored events on the ground, informed by intelligence agencies and partners.
Coordinated contingency planning for a potential closure of the embassy of Canada in Afghanistan and an evacuation of Canadians began early between Global Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence. The security of Canadians in Afghanistan was one of the utmost priority. As testimony from officials made clear at committee, even with the best efforts on assessments from the field, the Taliban overtook Kabul far more quickly than anticipated.
I can tell my colleague that departments and ministers worked closely together across government for a coordinated response, starting in July 2021. Daily interdepartmental task force calls took place to ensure collaboration between departments. From the Global Affairs Canada perspective, our consular team went into high gear to provide robust consular support to Canadians, permanent residents and their family members in Afghanistan to facilitate their safe passage to Canada.
This effort required coordinated support from the embassy in Kabul as they themselves prepared to close down operations in a precarious security situation, as well as from Ottawa and from eight of our missions across the globe. From the onset of this crisis, surge capacity responders worked around the clock to manage an unprecedented volume of answering calls and emails from Canadians, permanent residents, members of Parliament and family members outside of Afghanistan, as well as vulnerable people in Afghanistan seeking help and advice.
Across the government, hundreds of employees worked together on the coordinated response efforts. Partner departments were embedded in Global Affairs Canada's operation centre, enabling close collaboration amongst departments. At the same time, support was provided to Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada to enable them to carry out their mandate in resettling Afghan nationals in Canada.
While the response to the crisis in Afghanistan remains ongoing, we always review our efforts in order to identify and capture lessons learned and best practices to improve future emergency management capabilities. We are committed to continuing to work together to implement the lessons learned in order to better serve Canadians' interests abroad.