Taliban Leader In Secret Talks Was A Fake: Report

(New York Times)

In an script that could have been lifted from a spy thriller, NATO and Afghan leaders have been jolted to find they were dealing with a fake and an impostor, months into the secret high profile—talks to end the Afghan war.

Mulla Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the senior most commanders of the Taliban with whom the Afghan leaders had been sitting across the tables for months, has turned out not what he claimed, ‘New York Times’ reported.

For months the high-level meetings backed by NATO appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table.

But now, it turns out, not to be so. U.S. and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor and discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appeared to have achieved little.

“It’s not him”, a shocked Western diplomat was quoted by the paper as exclaiming, confirming “and we gave him a lot of money“.

Now American officials confirm that a man claiming to be Mulla Mansour was even a member of the Taliban leadership.

NATO and Afghan officials said they had three meetings with the man, who was flown from Pakistan, where senior Taliban leaders are suspected to be holed up.

The fake top Taliban commander, Times said, was even taken to meet President Hamid Karzai after being escorted into a NATO aircraft and ushered into the Presidential Palace.

The episode, Times said, underscores the uncertain and even bizarre nature of the atmosphere and circumstances in which Afghan and American leaders search for ways to bring the nine-year-old U.S.-led war to an end.