Taliban Peace Negotiator Was An Imposter

It seems that the past several months of “peace negotiations’ in Afghanistan may have been an immense scam:

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.

NATO and Afghan officials said they held three meetings with the man, who traveled from in Pakistan, where Taliban leaders have taken refuge.

The fake Taliban leader even met with President Hamid Karzai, having been flown to Kabul on a NATO aircraft and ushered into the presidential palace, officials said.

Karzai denies that the meeting ever took place:

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s president is denying he met with a senior Taliban leader.

Hamid Karzai told a news conference on Tuesday that he never met Akhtar Mohammad Mansour. He says the ranking Taliban did not travel from Pakistan to Kabul.

Well, of course, he didn’t if the guy he actually met with was an imposter…..

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    I think it’s important to remember that this isn’t the first time that we’ve negotiated with an impostor in Afghanistan.  Remember the incident in which the guy who was supposed to infiltrate Al Qaeda infiltrated us instead?
    It’s pretty clear that nobody including the Karzai government can tell the good guys from the bad guys in Afghanistan.

  2. DC Loser says:

    I think we also wired some money to help a Nigerian out with his bank account.

  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    I think the Taliban have been watching too much Good Will Hunting.