And we’re coming off as pretty desperate:
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.
Is it even worth saying at this point? Anyway, we gave this man millions of dollars and sat him down in front of Hamid Karzai and General Petraeus and we have no idea who he is or what his intentions are. This is beyond sloppy on ISAF’s part, but, I am utterly depressed to say, completely unsurprising.
It’s cute that Filkins wonders if the man could have been identified by fingerprints or something. But not endearing. I’m glad, at least, that Carlotta Gall had the piece end with Sayed Amir Muhammad Agha saying:
“Whenever I talk to the Taliban, they never accept peace and they want to keep on fighting,” he said. “They are not tired.”
I hate to say it, but that’s what all the Afghan hands have been saying for months. The idea that the Taliban is eager to sit down for talks—and it has stated, quite explicitly it is not—is just more ISAF spin, trying to convince us we’re winning the war.