London, Nov.27 (ANI): Former American NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, is reported to have asked British intelligence service MI6 rather than the CIA to develop contacts with the Taliban, and approved peace talks with a fake Taliban leader.
According to The Guardian, General McChrystal also approved the release of thousands of dollars in "goodwill payments".
This account sharply contradicts claims made by the Afghan presidency, which has put the entire blame on Britain, apparently supported privately by US officials.
In fact, the overriding desire to find a negotiated end to the conflict, particularly on the part of David Cameron, appears to have generated credulity on all sides, and led to an embarrassing debacle that has lessened trust and set back hopes of meaningful negotiations in the near future.
Sources close to the contacts said the impostor, who claimed to be Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, the Taliban's deputy leader, was originally introduced by an insurgent commander in Kandahar to the then Afghan interior minister, Hanif Atmar.
MI6 was delighted to be given the mission, and appears to have got carried away with enthusiasm for the "breakthrough", and brushed aside doubts raised by both US and British officials about "Mansour's" credibility.
Last night the head of the US military, Admiral Mike Mullen said the US had suspected the self-described Taliban leader was an imposter.
He said: "There were very early initial suspicions. And it took a little while to verify who he was or who he wasn't. And, in fact, it turns out he wasn't the guy he was claiming he should be."
It is unclear how much of that money was paid by Britain and how much by Karzai, who keeps his own fund, partially financed by Iran, for such purposes. The US has insisted no American money was used. (ANI)