Monday, November 22, 2010

Grifter of the year ....


Good googly moogly.
For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the repeated appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.

But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little.

“It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.”

16 comments:

xformed said...

You'da thunk with all our fancy a$$ technogadgets and iPods and iPads and UAVs, and biometrics and stuff....we could have IDed him, but...when the CIA had to just use "technical means," it's all going down the crapper...one thief at a time.

Not like bags of money from Iran haven't found their way to Kabul, eh?

ewok40k said...

offtopic but flash alert: N.Korea is shelling S.Korean island 120km from Seoul and 3 km from maritime border...

GIMP said...

Played for fools by a caveman.  Great job.  This is success?  Come on.  Fight an occupation or leave.  Forget COIN.  We're still not combatting an insurgency and we never were.  We toppled the instituted government and installed the counterstate.  The constituted government has been fighting back for a decade.  How could this possibly be a counterinsurgency?  Seriously, what the heck are we doing?  Maybe the rich mineral reserves are our strategic goal; that wouldn't be right but at least it would make sense.  Nothing else does.  How could anybody actually believe anything other than that the people of Afghanistan hate us and will continue to hate us as long as we are there.  If US troops occupied an American neighborhood and treated the residents like we're treating the Afghans, they would fight back too.  Jeez, enough stupidity.

LT B said...

have a link Ewok?

Salty Gator said...

start getting nasty again, McChrystal style.

UltiimaRatioRegis said...

Damn my blue eyes and what is left of my blond hair.  Otherwise, I coulda been Manseur!  And Western diplomats could have given me a lot of money.

UltiimaRatioRegis said...

Over at USNI.

Anonymous said...

Is there a pic for Diplomatic Facepalm!

Vigilis said...

An OBSERVATION is in order:

"The fake Taliban leader even met with President Hamid Karzai, having been flown to Kabul on a NATO aircraft and ushered into the presidential palace, officials said."

The implication being that even Karzai and his security staff had been fooled by the impostor.  Very doubtful. Who is the real grifter kingpin?  How got cuts of the booty? 

DeltaBravo said...

Okay... my BS meter is pinging a bit on this story.

There's got to be more to it.

First off, in that society, do you think anyone could get away with pretending to be a high level muckety muck at meetings with other muckety mucks without the real muckety muck hearing about it and taking offense?  Especially if bags of money are involved? 

(And by taking offense I mean taking "offense" the Afghan way... which probably is not pretty.)

Secondly... if you were a real muckety muck would you appear anywhere that might end up with your muckety butt grabbed and hauled off to Gitmo?  Or kerfluffled with holes?  Or would you send a "designated muckety muck" to stand in for you.  He may be an impostor, but is he a licensed impostor?

I'd like to hear more about this before I opine any more....

Just sayin....  it's a whole 'nuther world there where "saving face" and "honesty" have more fluid meanings than we're used to.

UltiimaRatioRegis said...

DB,my darlin' it is not only possible, it is probable.  Theirs is an anonymous society.  Several names, combination of names, and a homogeneous society with a similarity in appearance that Westerners simply cannot always navigate. 

Wouldn't be the first time, here or in Iraq.  But probably the biggest so far. 

And there is a chance he was Pakistani intelligence, too.

Casey Tompkins said...

How do you ID someone you've never seen or met before? Hi-tech equipment can only work if you have data, in this case previous samples such as DNA, fingerprints, or retina scans. Obviously we didn't have this data.

If you read the article carefully, they did pass a photo of the man to some folks who did confirm his identity. I suspect they were either in on the scam, or were snickering at the dummies; "Sure (tee hee), that's him. (chuckle) No doubt about it. Absolutely. (what a maroon!)"

Casey Tompkins said...

Did Karzai or anyone on his staff know the man, had met him, or possessed photos? If not, how should they be able to ID him?

Casey Tompkins said...

Me, I think this is darn funny. A classic scam -farm boy cons sophisticated city slickers- which might make a fairly entertaining movie.

“It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.” One hopes at least they got a deed to the bridge. Or maybe a new "reset" button as a souvenir.

That's smart diplomacy for you. The country is in the best of hands.

DeltaBravo said...

How hard did the detainees who "identified" him from photos laugh when out of earshot?

Casey Tompkins said...

Dunno, DB. But your question highlights why I think this debacle is so darn funny...