Wednesday, November 24, 2010
For the second time in two years, American interests have been badly served when it turned out that a theoretically important leader was, in fact, a complete imposter.
In this case, the United States and Afghan government had been negotiating with - and giving bags of money to - Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, who was supposedly a high-ranking Taliban official. Only - oops! - he wasn't really.
The imposter flew on NATO aircraft and met with top officials (when he wasn't cashing those hefty checks), giving the U.S. hope that great progress was being made in the ongoing negotiations with the Taliban.
Unfortunately, it turns out that the imposter was simply a shopkeeper from a tiny town in Pakistan, who presumably hires himself out as a pretend "Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour" to children's birthday parties, where he charms the guests by blowing up balloons and the occasional room full of civilians.
But no real harm was done, except for all of the money lost, the reversal of our hopes for a negotiated peace in Afghanistan, and the ridicule of the world for being so easily duped by an alleged "leader" with bogus documentation.