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"It's not him, and we gave him a lot of money."

We're being taken for fools in 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 of NATO 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.

The episode underscores the uncertain and even bizarre nature of the atmosphere in which Afghan and American leaders search for ways to bring the nine-year-old American-led war to an end. The leaders of the Taliban are believed to be hiding in Pakistan, possibly with the assistance of the Pakistani government, which receives billions of dollars in American aid.

Many in the Taliban leadership, which is largely made up of barely literate clerics from the countryside, had not been seen in person by American, NATO or Afghan officials.

American officials say they were skeptical from the start about the identity of the man who claimed to be Mullah Mansour -- who by some accounts is the second-ranking official in the Taliban, behind only the founder, Mullah Mohammed Omar. Serious doubts arose after the third meeting with Afghan officials, held in the southern city of Kandahar. A man who had known Mr. Mansour years ago told Afghan officials that the man at the table did not resemble him. "He said he didn't recognize him," said an Afghan leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Western diplomat said the Afghan man was initially given a sizable sum of money to take part in the talks -- and to help persuade him to return.

While the Afghan official said he still harbored hopes that the man would return for another round of talks, American and other Western officials said they had concluded that the man in question was not Mr. Mansour. Just how the Americans reached such a definitive conclusion -- whether, for instance, they were able to positively establish his identity through fingerprints or some other means -- is unknown.

As recently as last month, American and Afghan officials held high hopes for the talks. Senior American officials, including Gen. David H. Petraeus, said the talks indicated that Taliban leaders, whose rank-and-file fighters are under extraordinary pressure from the American-led offensive, were at least willing to discuss an end to the war.

The American officials said they and officials of other NATO governments were helping to facilitate the discussions, by providing air transport and securing roadways for Taliban leaders coming from Pakistan.

Here's an idea.

We're at war with these people.  Let's quit talking to them and instead let's start killing them.

Or just come home.

If we're not there to defeat the enemy, then bring our men and women home.  We've lost enough of our people due to our unwillingness to engage with full force.

Enough is enough.  Fight feriociously or return our troops to their families.

Not another should die when we have incompetents who lead them.


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Comments (17)

Yea. It looks bad.It... (Below threshold)

Yea. It looks bad.
It looks like the Taliban aren't interested in negotiating in good faith when they send an impostor.

A smarter, more intelligent... (Below threshold)
jim m:

A smarter, more intelligent foreign policy.

Any time Barry wants to come through on that one would be great.

That's what happens when yo... (Below threshold)

That's what happens when you don't seek "victory". Accommodation has a price. Just look at North Korea.

Incompetent foreign policy ... (Below threshold)

Incompetent foreign policy has just been redefined...

Ummm, right post, wrong thr... (Below threshold)

Ummm, right post, wrong thread, might fit here too though.

Gmac"Incompetent f... (Below threshold)
retired military:


"Incompetent foreign policy has just been redefined...


Here let me fix that for you

"Incompetent foreign policy has just been REFINED..."

Lets pray the refinement process ends soon.

Guys, I'm sure any... (Below threshold)


I'm sure any minute now that the Norks will come out with a statement that Kim Jong Ill was simply trying to cast his votes for Bristol Palin and just kept hitting the wrong buttons.

I just wish Obama could find the damn button, scratch that, I wish he could find his balls.

Sorry wrong thread</... (Below threshold)

Sorry wrong thread

""It's not him, and we gave... (Below threshold)
retired military:

""It's not him, and we gave him a lot of money."

Because Obama doesnt deal with anything less than $500 billion.

I told my friends a long ti... (Below threshold)

I told my friends a long time ago that sending US troops to fumbuckistan or wherever is a mistake. They don't like us. They aren't ever going to like us. Better to have sent the Air Force. Along about 9-20-2001. Two weeks then would have done it. And get serious about who gets to come to the US

He should have gotten the s... (Below threshold)

He should have gotten the same treatment as the guy who brought David the crown of Saul, claiming to have killed him and seeking a reward from the new king.

Here's an idea.... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Here's an idea.

We're at war with these people. Let's quit talking to them and instead let's start killing them.

Somehow Rick doesn't sound like a vet, especially one from the Vietnam era, a war that went on nearly as long.

The magnificent series "Vietnam: A Television History" had an interview of one vet who was describing Vietnam and then suddenly burst into tears and admitted he had shot a Vietnamese woman in a rice paddy without reason. I have known a lot of vets like that.
It's Bush's fault!... (Below threshold)

It's Bush's fault!

"I have known a lot of vets... (Below threshold)

"I have known a lot of vets like that."

Bullshit! Next he'll tell about all 'the baby killers', and how the black guys were disproportionately assigned to combat units, and how all the troops came home and became hopeless druggies and wandered the streets homeless, plotting to kill innocent people.

Garandfan, I don't have to ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Garandfan, I don't have to tell you war is hell, and that vets returning from Afghanistan have a high degree of combat injuries, pst, psychological problems etc such as in Vietnam.

And if we can't even identify the Taliban's second or third biggest leader in room with our best intelligence agents after two talks, and giving him money, how do we expect to tell the difference between Afghan civilians and insurgents from a long distance in drone attacks or anti-mortar attacks? It doesn't inspire confidence!

Mr. Crickmore, Mr... (Below threshold)

Mr. Crickmore,

Mr. GarandFan called BS on you and your answer was pathetic. Where do you get the information you know? From TV? Give me a frigging break.

BTW you don't sound like a combat vet (in my humble opinion).

I do hold the belief that endless war without the full weight and strength of a nation behind it fighting for victory is... nuts. So, if I was the President, my first act would be to ask Congress to declare war on our enemies...and if they didn't have the backbone to do it, I'd pull all our troops out... like that afternoon. The whole damn place isn't worth the life of even one of our soldiers.

As for the political negotiations? Do you really think our politicians are equatable to warriors? As I noticed you so easily slid over in your post into that "we" mime, which is very diplomatic but very un-warrior like.

What say ye?

Semper Fidelis-

"...the Vietnam era..."<... (Below threshold)
John S:

"...the Vietnam era..."

Another war fucked up by Democratic "leadership." Obama is getting our troops killed for no reason. Get us the hell out of there.






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