OTTAWA (AFP) - Canada is reaching out for the first time to the Taliban, hoping to convince ordinary fighters to lay down their arms, after long opposing talks with insurgents, media reports here said late Thursday. "After years of rejecting any contact with the insurgents, Canadian officials say those involved with the mission are now rethinking the policy," said the daily Globe and Mail. The new policy, according to the Toronto-based newspaper, aims to help peace efforts led by the Afghan government. The strategy is two-pronged: tactical discussions at the local level in volatile Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan and strategic talks through President Hamid Karzai's govt in Kabul. So far, there has seemingly been little progress using either approach. However, each is still in its infancy, the Globe and Mail said. International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda told a media briefing on Afghanistan: "We support the Afghan government ... and we support the reconciliation process that they've undertaken." Both Oda and the visiting special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, stressed there was currently no formal reconciliation process underway, but rather only "community outreach." "If the Afghan government should decide to launch a wide reconciliation process and ask for our support, we will provide that support to the extent possible," Edie said. But he also set three conditions for doing so: that Kabul lead the reconciliation process with support from the international community; that it be politically driven; and respect Afghanistan's new constitution. In the meantime, he said: "I think it's important that we all engage in outreach in a coordinated way in the communities where we are engaged." The Globe and Mail newspaper cites, as an example, a Canadian sergeant who asked a village elder for help in arranging a meeting with Taliban fighters, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and a local Afghan National Army  commander. "ANA, maybe ISAF and Taliban, no guns, just talk," Canadian army Sergeant Tim Seeley is quoted as saying. "Talking is the best way to solve problems. Do you think the Taliban would ever talk with us?" Interviewed by the Globe and Mail, the new commander of Canada's battle group in Kandahar, Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon Corbould, said he endorses localised talks with the Taliban, led by Afghan authorities and supported by Canadian troops. "You need to make these Taliban understand that we're not the devil," he said. "I think it's a great idea, at the tactical level."