The leader of the Taliban side in the high profile Afghanistan reconciliation talks was a complete fraud, it was revealed yesterday, who apparently just showed up to bilk coalition forces out of money.
Though the inevitable first reaction to this was what it says about NATO’s shaky intelligence, which apparently couldn’t tell a real Taliban from a random scam artist, perhaps the more serious question at this point is where this leaves the talks.
The near term answer, it seems, is nowhere. The talks that took place were with an impostor and any deals made with him weren’t worth the paper they were printed on, let alone the huge bribes said to accompany them. Taliban denials that such talks were taking place are also vindicated, as clearly they really weren’t secretly talking with the government after all.
But the goal of negotiating some sort of settlement with the Taliban is still there, and can’t be completely ruled out, assuming NATO finds some actual Taliban next time. With violence in the nation getting worse all the time, however, the Taliban’s bargaining position as the insurgent faction is probably only getting better in the interim.