I see that Rick has already beaten me to this story. Read his take immediately below.
KABUL, 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.
Lifted from a spy novel? More like an episode of Get Smart, or an Austin Powers movie. Much as I hate to keep playing this card, I just have to ask — what if this had happened during the Bush presidency? Feel free to use your imagination.
Of course now that we’re in the era of “Smart DiplomacyTM” … oh, never mind.
Tom Maguire writes, “as soon as I finish Thanksgiving dinner, I am flying to Afghanistan. It is past time for Mullah Muckwuck Muffinbottom to negotiate peace with honor. And I take credit cards.”