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 repeated 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.So, no one knows who the guy really was, and what he has done with the money.
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.”
And what should really be noteworthy is just how much contact this guy had with top level Afghan and NATO commanders and political leaders, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai and had been flown around in NATO aircraft. This represents a serious flaw and failure in the intel on Mansour and the Taliban.