The leader of the NDP, Jack Layton, spent a pleasant hour with Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan today. According to participants, Layton spent the hour educating Karzai on the realities of Afghanistant, the Taliban, and the proper way to fight terrorism. "It was a very productive meeting. I believe we managed to educate Karzai - he was very appreciative of learning more about Afghanistan," said Layton on Parliament Hill.
The Layton-Karzai meeting gave the NDP leader ample time to explain the correct way of thinking about buidling a democracy. He told Karzai that he would help negotiate a peace between his government and the Taliban, and that the NDP could also help build up proper democractic institutions. Said Layton, "First, we told them they needed a Status of Women Committee, sign the Kyoto Protocol, legalize gay marriage, and we also referred them to the CBC for lessons on how to start a national broadcaster." And, what did Karzai say in response? "Well, we had a lot to tell him, so he really just listened. I like that in a leader," said Layton.
The NDP leader said he would have liked another two hours to properly instruct Karzai, but the Afghan leader unfortunately had to leave. "I hope he has a better understanding of how Afghanistan works," said Layton, "but really, I needed another hour or two to properly explain the complexity of Afghan life."
Layton is hopeful that Karzai will come back to Canada for more meetings. "I also hope that Taliban representatives can come to Canada and meet with me for preparation for peace talks," Layton said. "It shouldn't take long for us to negotiate a deal. I just hope that Karzai keeps an open mind. I belive he needs more education - and the NDP is here to help."