Less than a week ago officials reported that the latest round of super-secret talks with the Taliban were nearing a potential breakthrough. As it so often has in the past, the deal has collapsed, with officials blaming President Hamid Karzai.
The deal was supposed to involve some sort of trade where President Obama would transfer five Gitmo detainees to house arrest in Qatar in return for unspecified concessions from the Taliban. Karzai was said to have objected to the deal, and it collapsed shortly thereafter.
“Right now, things have stopped,” a top US official is quoted as saying, and officials say they expect another effort at talks with the Taliban some time after the new year.
Several previous “deals” have also ended in failure, in many cases with the revelation that the “Taliban” they were talking to didn’t have any ties to the actual Taliban. In one case in 2010, it was revealed that the “Taliban” they were courting were scam artists looking to bilk NATO out of cash.