A month ago, Newsweek reported the denials of "senior Afghan Taliban chiefs" that there were secret peace negotiations going on. One Taliban leader claimed the reports were "disniformation aimed at weakening Taliban resolve," according to Newsweek. "'This is just very obvious propaganda,'" the leader said. Newsweek's closing graf:
Still, the reports are putting Taliban leaders on edge. The [Taliban Ruling Council]member says that when rumors recently arose that Maulvi Abdul Kabir, the head of the Taliban’s Peshawar Shura, had met with Karzai in Kabul, Kabir immediately broke security protocol and phoned senior colleagues, despite the risk of giving away his location and theirs. "He called everyone, even though it was not safe to phone, to assure us that he didn’t go," says the [ruling council] member.
Now it turns out there were ongoing talks, except that one big Taliban leader we thought we were talking to was apparently an impostor. Instead of "Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement," the man NATO transported to Kabul for negotiations was most likely a "lowly shopkeeper" from Quetta, Pakistan. Everyone is duly embarrassed/chagrined/derisive.
But wait. If we did want to weaken Taliban resolve—and surely we do—and if individual Taliban leaders aren't really sure what the others are doing, then even a fake Taliban talker might do the trick. Isn't it possible the false Mansour served our interests--by putting the real Taliban leaders "on edge," worried that some of their colleagues might be cracking?
If the fake Mansour didn't exist it might be worth paying someone take the role, no? ... 11:58 p.m.
Labor's Love Not Lost: Who needs a "card check" bill when you've got Barbara Boxer? ... 11:54 p.m.
Maybe someone should tell Joe Miller to quit his ballot fight, but that someone is not Norm Coleman ... 11:37 p.m.