Julian Borger and Jon Boone
Nov 27, 2010
Peace talks conducted with an impostor who posed as a Taliban leader, and which led to a meeting with Hamid Karzai in Kabul and thousands of dollars in “goodwill payments”, were started by the Afghan government and approved by the former American commander, Stanley McChrystal, the Guardian has learned.
This account sharply contradicts claims made by the Afghan presidency, which has put the entire blame on Britain, apparently supported privately by US officials.
In fact, the overriding desire to find a negotiated end to the conflict, particularly on the part of David Cameron, appears to have generated credulity on all sides, and led to an embarrassing debacle that has lessened trust and set back hopes of meaningful negotiations in the near future.
Sources close to the contacts said the impostor, who claimed to be Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, the Taliban’s deputy leader, was originally introduced by an insurgent commander in Kandahar to the then Afghan interior minister, Hanif Atmar.
This article was posted: Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 5:13 am