Here again is what Jack Layton said four years ago.
Here now is what Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who favours the complete withdrawal of Canadian Forces from Afghanistan in 2011, said today about recent reports of negotiations between the Karzai government and members of the Taliban.
REPORTER: Prime Minister Harper, there are reports that the Afghan government of Mr. Karzai is having deepened and expanded talks with leadership of the Taliban. How do you view those talks, and in light of the blood and the treasure that we have spent in that country over so many years, how do you feel about the fact that the people we have been fighting for so long may end up inside the government?
RT. HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Well, I think you might be racing a bit ahead of yourselves on the conclusion. But let me just say this in terms of the general question. I think I’ve responded to this before. Our country, all the allies of ISAF have always strongly supported attempts at political reconciliation. It has always been our position that that is part of an eventual solution. It is not simply military action alone, but obviously there are important conditions that the Afghan government and that the allies’ support with regard to those talks have to do with things like respect for the constitutional order, the laying down of arms and obviously any agreement along those lines would be something that Canada would strongly support, and as I say, we encourage talks that respect those kinds of conditions, and that has been the position of the Afghan government.
REPORTER: And respect, as well, of human rights, for example the rights of women in Afghanistan?
RT. HON. STEPHEN HARPER: We would expect all aspects of the Afghan constitution, including its human rights guarantees, to be respected, and as I say, that has been our position and the Afghan government position for many years.
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