Taliban mock NATO over `fake` negotiator incident

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - 10:02

Kabul: The Taliban has praised an imposter
who reportedly duped British intelligence agents into believing he was a top militant commander in a position to negotiate peace in exchange for cash.

Britain`s foreign intelligence service MI6 believed
the man to be insurgent leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour,
a figure capable of negotiating with US and Afghan officials,
The Times and The Washington Post reported last week.

The Taliban, in a statement posted on its website
yesterday and released through the SITE Monitoring service,
said the episode has become "a stigma on the forehead of the
Americans and their allies."

The imposter exposed the American position towards
talks with the militant group, the statement added, repeating
the Taliban`s stance that it will not negotiate while
Afghanistan remains under occupation.

Agents flew the man on Royal Air Force transport
planes from Pakistan to Kabul on several occasions and paid
him several hundred thousand dollars but it now appears he was
either a minor rebel, a shopkeeper or even just a conman, the
reports said.

He has since disappeared.

In an interview with the Post, Afghan President Hamid
Karzai`s chief of staff Mohammad Umer Daudzai said the British
brought the man purporting to be Mullah Mansour to meet Karzai
in July or August.

But an Afghan at the meeting knew "this is not the
man," the Post quoted him as saying.

Britain`s Foreign Office refused to confirm or deny
the reports about the fake Taliban leader but admitted that it
provides "practical help for Afghan reconciliation
initiatives."

Karzai has said that progress was being made in the
"reintegration progress of the government opposition," or
Taliban-led insurgents, as he looks to end the bitter and
bloody conflict.
The Taliban have signalled a willingness for a
political solution, according to a government-backed peace
council, while NATO`s top commander said his troops had helped
at least one Taliban.

Bureau Report



First Published: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - 10:02

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