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Taliban deal would need to meet strict conditions: Canadian PM

By Nairita Das

Toronto, Oct. 23 (ANI): Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has laid down strict conditions for his country to bless a deal arising from peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

During a trip to Switzerland Friday, the Globe and Mail quoted Harper, as saying that the conditions include not only that the Taliban lay down arms but also a commitment to the Afghan constitution, "including its human-rights guarantees."

"Any agreement along those lines is something Canada would strongly support," Harper told reporters during a news conference with Swiss President Doris Leuthard.

Canada's influence in Afghanistan is on the decline as it prepares for a 2011 military withdrawal.

But this country, which has spent a decade in Afghanistan and sacrificed more than 150 soldiers there, still carries weight along with the United States, United Kingdom and other NATO allies.

Meanwhile, Canada's senior commander on the ground in southern Afghanistan said he's willing to ferry Taliban leaders to Kabul for negotiations if asked.

Although little public information is available, press reports suggest that NATO forces have already assisted four senior Taliban leaders in travelling from Pakistan to Kabul for the crucial negotiations. (ANI)

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