Monday, May 5, 2008

"We are not talking to Taliban": Mackay

Based on Outlook Afghanistan English Daily Paper (Afghanistan) quoted from Pajhwak News Agency, the Chargé d’affaires of Canadian Embassy in Afghanistan Ron Hoffmann has said in an exclusive interview with Pajhwak on Friday May 3 2008 that they have not had any negotiations nor they have any plans to begin negotiations with the Taliban but their mission in Afghanistan is to support the government of Afghanistan in different arenas, especially strengthening of the government and reconstruction in this country.

This exclusive interview takes place when the news of negotiations of the Canadian Military officials with the Taliban were reflected in some Canadian press on these days which were then denied by the Canadian officials in Ottawa later.

Currently Canada has 2300 troops under NATO command in Afghanistan and they are mostly located in the southern province of Kandahar.

This new rumor spreads when in December 2007 two foreign diplomats(Marvin Peterson) British diplomat of the UN mission in Afghanistan and (Michael Sample) an Irish diplomat of the EU in Afghanistan were sent out from this country by the order of president Karzai after they were accused to be negotiating with the Taliban without informing the Afghan governmental officials in this regard, that was assumed to be unrelated to their tasks as well as illegal action which then later this matter was some how related to the issue of rejection of Lord Paddy Ashdown as the special representative of the UN Secretary General in Afghanistan by Karzai and reulted exchange of diplomatic words in between the two countries for a while.

Quoted from Outlook English Daily Paper website and Canadia Press;

OTTAWA – Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay is denying reports from Afghanistan that Canadian soldiers are reaching out to members of the Taliban to establish peace in the war-torn country.
Canadian military officials in Afghanistan have been quoted as saying they're trying to engage in a dialogue with insurgents – a move that federal New Democrat Leader Jack Layton has long supported.
"I was pleased to hear that our military on the ground were looking at opening up lines of communication with the insurgents," Layton said yesterday at a provincial NDP convention in St. John's.
Lt.-Col. Gordon Corbould, the new battle group commander, and Sgt. Tim Seeley, a civilian-military co-operation officer for Canada's Provincial Reconstruction Team, were quoted Thursday by the Globe and Mail as saying that channels were being opened to moderate Taliban. Other officials in Kandahar, who spoke privately, backed up the military's assessment.
But MacKay, who told The Canadian Press on Friday that those same officials don't speak for the federal government, took pains yesterday to reiterate the position.
"We are not talking to the Taliban. We are not having direct discussions with terrorists. We won't, will not, that will not change," MacKay said. "What we are doing obviously in reconstruction and development and daily contacts that happen is encouraging people to move away from the Taliban's influence, to renounce violence." (CP)

Read more in Glob and Mail dot come
Read more in Canadian Press
Read more in Outlook
Afghanistan Daily Paper website

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