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[h=1]Canadian diplomats in Kabul kept embassy bar well stocked: documents[/h]

OTTAWA - Canada's diplomatic corps in Kabul did not go thirsty.

Hospitality forms show embassy staff and dignitaries drank plenty of booze while posted to Afghanistan, an Islamic country where imbibing is not just taboo, it's against the law.

The embassy consumed close to 3,000 bottles of alcoholic beverages from mid-2007 to last November. The tab for the beer, wine and hard liquor was at least $20,000.

The Canadian Press obtained hospitality diaries from the Canadian Embassy in Kabul under the Access to Information Act.

The forms give the Foreign Affairs Department the cost of the embassy's food and drink orders, along with guest lists and descriptions of lunches, dinners and other functions.

It is not clear whether the department provided all the hospitality forms. While there were dozens of forms in 2008 and 2010, there was just a single sheet for all of 2009.

Foreign Affairs also did not provide any forms for all of 2006 and the first half of 2007 even though they were requested so the booze bill could actually be much higher.

Still, the paperwork offers a glimpse of the social side of Canadian diplomacy in the Afghan capital, where alcohol can legally flow on embassy grounds.

There were sendoffs for departing staffers and shindigs to welcome new ones. The embassy entertained visiting generals, diplomats, journalists and politicians.

They nursed Gordon's Gin and white rum from Bacardi. They sipped red and white wines. They didn't always drink beer, but when they did, they preferred Corona, Heineken and Beck's.