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Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to his recent comments in Pakistan, whether his officials are currently conducting talks with members of the Taliban or their associates in Afghanistan and Pakistan. (202645)

The Government support the approach of the Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan in tackling Taliban and insurgent influence through a comprehensive method of addressing security, governance and development needs. We fully support President Karzai's efforts to bring disaffected Afghans into society's mainstream, providing they renounce violence and accept Afghanistan's constitution. As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made clear in his recent visit to Pakistan, we support the Government of Pakistan's plans to reconcile with people who are willing to participate in normal politics in a non-violent way. Such reconciliation should be designed to marginalise those who are using extremist means for ideological reasons.