Several months of intense negotiations by the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) almost bore fruit this week, when they finally managed to convince a key Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader, Latif Mehsud, to come to NDS headquarters to help organize peace talks.
Latif was in an Afghan government convoy being taken to the NDS headquarters when the convoy was suddenly captured by the US military and Latif was carted off by the US forces, to be detained at Bagram as an “enemy combatant.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is said to be enraged by the move, and the tension may further aggravate the negotiations over post-2014 terms for US military operations in the country.
At the same time, the US operation foiled a key effort at peace with a major Taliban faction, and such peace deals would make it a lot easier for Karzai or any subsequent Afghan leader to reject a continued occupation. As it stands, the US seems to oppose peace talks if they undermine the war talks.
US officials confirmed the capture of Latif, but declined to offer any further details, citing the “sensitivity of the issue.”