The Conservatives have softened their position on talking with the Taliban after a British general said that Western forces will never win against insurgents and negotiations may be necessary.
NDP Leader Jack Layton jumped on that Sunday, saying he was "heartened" by British Brig.-Gen. Mark Carleton-Smith's comments to a London newspaper.
Later Sunday, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the Conservatives would be "supportive of discussions" provided the talks were headed by the democratically elected Afghan government, and as long as the "terrorists" renounced violence.
Layton has said negotiations are necessary, but MacKay rejected that in the past. "We are not having direct discussions with terrorists. We won't, will not, that will not change," he said on May 4.
This is a complete reversal of the position the Cons have had for years.
As I noted in January, 2007:
During an October 2006 speech to the Canadian International Centre, Foreign Affairs minister Peter MacKay ridiculed NDP leader Jack Layton for suggesting talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan. MacKay, spouting the popular right-wing talking point, said such talks would only embolden the terrorists. As I pointed out in this September 2006 post, NATO leaders were already holding secret talks with the Taliban in August 2006 according to the Globe and Mail.
And, who can forget when Veterans Affairs minister Greg Thompson called Layton "Taliban Jack"?
It is no secret that in military circles the leader of the NDP--and I have a base in my riding as members well know, Camp Gagetown, and I have met many of the military types across the country--is referred to as “Taliban Jack”. That tells it all. The NDP does not support our men and women in uniform and they know it. The NDP record is deplorable. Those members should be ashamed of themselves.
Call we call MacKay "Taliban Pete" now?
Afghan victory hopes played down
The UK's commander in Helmand has said Britain should not expect a "decisive military victory" in Afghanistan.
Brig Mark Carleton-Smith told the Sunday Times the aim of the mission was to ensure the Afghan army was able to manage the country on its own.
He said this could involve discussing security with the Taleban.