The New York Times: KABUL, Afghanistan — For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.
But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance ofNATO appear to have achieved little.
“It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.”
American officials confirmed Monday that they had given up hope that the Afghan was Mr. Mansour, or even a member of the Taliban leadership.
NATO and Afghan officials said they held three meetings with the man, who traveled from in Pakistan, where Taliban leaders have taken refuge.
The fake Taliban leader even met with President Hamid Karzai, having been flown to Kabul on a NATO aircraft and ushered into the presidential palace, officials said. [MORE]
Try as I could, I never understood the logic of negotiating with the Taliban. It isn’t like the Taliban is an official nation, with an official leadership. I think the reason why this happened was twofold. First, I don’t think the Bush administration thought this whole thing through. While talking out the Taliban was the right thing to do, I don’t think the Bush administration thought about what to do after the Taliban was removed. This mistake was further enhanced by the Obama administration’s political need to please the left’s desire to cut and run.
I can only imagine how ridiculous the west must look to the Taliban after this. Considering how much money this guy got away with, I would not be the least bit surprise if someone tries to punk us again.
Via: The New York Times