The curious case of fake Taliban: Pakistani daily



Islamabad: A man who posed as a Taliban leader and hoodwinked his way into getting access to the corridors of power in Afghanistan and also got his bank balance hugely fattened has exposed how "the world's best-funded and highly regarded intelligence outfits are capable of making royal blunders", a Pakistani daily has said.

Dawn in an editorial on Sunday said: "Though Pakistani law-enforcement agencies are often rightly criticised for their lack of attention to detail, even the world's best-funded and highly regarded intelligence outfits are capable of making royal blunders."

"Consider the curious case of the fake Mullah Mansour. A man pretending to be the said mullah - a top-ranker in the Afghan Taliban supposedly close to Mullah Omar - was given full protocol as a Taliban negotiator by the Afghan government, even reportedly meeting President Karzai.”

"Now that the hoax has been exposed, the Afghans, British and Americans are all blaming each other for the fiasco."

The editorial said the man is actually a shopkeeper from Pakistan's Quetta city.

"British eagerness to find a negotiated settlement to the Afghan impasse led to the faux mullah's access to the Afghan corridors of power," it said.

"He (the fake Taliban leader) was flown to Kabul several times aboard NATO aircraft while the man's bank balance was also sufficiently fattened - to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars - by western largesse."

Citing examples of other impostors, the daily pointed out that former American vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin took a call from two Canadian comedians, with one of them pretending to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in 2008.

"But though this and the instance of the fake mullah may appear comical, when premier western intelligence agencies - with their billion-dollar budgets - make blunders, the results can be disastrous."

IANS