By Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
According to the Western media, Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour, now proved to be an imposter, has met the high-ranking Afghan, NATO and U.S officials in Kabul, at least thrice, portraying himself as the deputy of Mullah Mohammad Omer, the head of Taliban. The imposter had once met with President Karazai too in the Presidential Palace. In fact, President Karazai and his NATO and US allies, occupying Afghan land realized after nine years of unsuccessful military campaign that, reconciliation with the warlords and Taliban is the only way forward for bringing stability in that country. Moreover, being an Afghan national and head of the Kabul administration, Hamid Karazai considered his personal responsibility, to integrate all those in the Government, who are ready to reconcile and work for the betterment of Afghanistan.
Mohammad Umer Daudzai, the Chief of Staff of Afghan President, has recently disclosed in an interview with Washington Post, that the British diplomats brought this fake Taliban deputy, Mullah Mansour, in a sensitive meeting with Afghan President in Kabul. The same newspaper quoted a senior U.S official saying that, “the Mansour impersonator was ‘the Brits guy’. This fact was even published in the British newspaper, Times, which says, that, “the impostor was promoted by British overseas intelligence agency MI6, which was convinced it had achieved a major breakthrough.” Moreover, he was flown to Kabul in a NATO aircraft.
President Karazai has initially denied that he ever met the fake Mullah Mansour. He particularly said that, “We have not met anyone named Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour. Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour has not come to Afghanistan. Do not accept foreign media reports about meetings with Taliban leaders. Most of these reports are propaganda and lies.” However, now after the confirmatory interview of his Chief of Staff, it is absolutely clear that, the imposter met President Karazai in July/ August this year and participated in three rounds of confidential dialogue with Afghan Government and the NATO and US officials.
British diplomats might have arranged this meeting; however, both Afghan officials and U.S were pinning high hopes from these negotiations. Even Commander of ISAF, General David Petraeus, was claiming that perhaps the credit of the talks goes to him once he said, “the talks indicated that Taliban leaders, whose rank-and-file fighters are under extraordinary pressure from the US-led offensive, were at least willing to discuss an end to the war.” He never expected that the Taliban negotiator would be a fake man Mullah Mansour. Therefore, now neither Afghan administration, nor U.S and NATO should refuse to accept their follies or incompetence. Afghan Government should not disown the episode and give up the reconciliation process, if it is serious to reach to a political resolution of the issue. The incidence however, raised questions about the “credibility of some NATO officials who earlier confessed that they facilitated contacts between Taliban figures and Afghan officials.”
It is worth mentioning that the real Mullah Mansour, has been the Civil Aviation Minister of Taliban regime and currently is the deputy of Mullah Omer besides being the in charge of the weapons procurement for the Taliban, fighting against the NATO and U.S in their homeland. Unlike Mullah Omer, Mullah Mansour never hidden his face during the tenure of his ministry, therefore, any Afghan or even the spying agencies of the occupation forces should have made no mistake in recognizing him. The NATO, United States, and the Afghan Government also paid the imposter a huge amount for these rounds of negotiations, before he disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Upon establishing the fact that he was a fake man portraying as the Taliban’s deputy, a Western diplomat in the Kabul said, that, “It's not him and we gave him a lot of money.”
The identity of this imitator is yet to be determined. Some say he is a low-level Taliban leader, other say; he is a shopkeeper of Quetta Pakistan. Still another group, who claim that he, was an intelligence officer of Pakistani spying network. However, irrespective, who was this impersonator or who brought him to the Afghan Palace, there are a number of stimulating questions arising out of this exceptional situation. First, Hamid Karazai and his team, all Afghan nationals, should have been able to recognize their own fellow citizen, who has been occupying major seat in the former administration. The non-identification means that, this bunch of ruling class is so scared of the Taliban and warlords, that they are unable to come out from the Afghan palace to interact or know about the their masses. This mean, their know-how about the people of Afghanistan is scant, secondary and based on foreign agencies, who may portray anything. Under such a situation, should the incumbent team have any right to continue ruling Afghan people?
Secondly, the U.S and NATO forces are occupying the Afghan soil since 2001, with absolute power. Apart from their combat forces now numbering to 150,000 troops, there is a huge concentration of their spying networks; CIA, FBI, MI6, all interconnected and working for a common objective as a team. These intelligence agencies have the support of newly established Afghan spying network, RAMA; the Research and Analysis Mili Afghan and the Indian intelligence the RAW, intimately linked with RAMA. CIA and FBI in particular have been frequently interacting with the Taliban leaders, including Mullah Mansour, once they were in power in Afghanistan. Why should they make a mistake in identifying this dominating personality of the former regime? Was this a deliberate act to laugh at the Afghan rulers or they too know very little about the Taliban leadership.
Nevertheless, in either case, the NATO and U.S cannot be absolved from their basic responsibilities, being the occupiers of that soil. If they have deliberately attempted to let down incumbent Afghan regime, then it should be of lot of concern for the Hamid Karazai led team to tolerate them any more in their homeland. However, the fact of the matter is that, including MI-6, representatives of all spying network, operative in Afghanistan, have been directly involved in the reconciliation process with Taliban and other warlords. How did an imposter cheat all these, where even a layman could have differentiated between a authoritative leader and a fake counterpart.
The top Taliban leadership has so far been denying any linkage with Afghan Government, NATO, and U.S, as Mullah Omar declared negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government mere a Western ploy. Nevertheless, the incumbent Kabul regime has been engaged in the dialogue with some Taliban and warlords, who might not have the authority to do that on behalf of the Taliban. Indeed, there is confusion as who is interacting with whom for the peace and stability in Afghanistan and is anyone serious for that. According to BBC correspondent, Quentin Sommerville, what it appears that, some of those claiming to represent the Taliban have turned out to be frauds.
Linked with this is the repeated U.S demand to take action against the so-called Quetta Shura. Since last few years, U.S has been emphasizing that, Quetta is the headquarters of the Shura, whereas, Pakistan repeatedly denies the existence of any such setup in its country. Even in the recent past, once U.S emphasized Pakistan for enlarging the zone of drone strikes up to Quetta (to target Quetta Shura), Pakistan seriously reacted to that. Pakistan made it amply clear to U.S that, it need to review its drone attack policy as the attacks are producing a “drone-hardened generation,” therefore, must stop drone strikes in Tribal areas too.
However, the major question arise, if the NATO and U.S really could not identify this imposter, then how did they reached over to the conclusion that, there is a Quetta Shura and Haqqani network in North Waziristan Agency, for which they have been accusing Pakistan of housing them. If the fake Mullah Mansour, can be taken as the deputy of the Mullah Omer by this highly informed group of partners, who stops them from making fake claims that there is a Quetta Shura and the Haqqani network too. Declaring this imposter as an agent of Pakistani spying agency and simultaneously pressurizing for expansion of the drone attack zone up to Quetta, can be part of a deliberate planning by NATO and US. Nevertheless, they should be mindful that through 150 drone attacks so far, U.S has caused scare among the people and killed over 2,000 innocent Pakistani just for 30-suspected militants.
The collateral damages caused by these drone attacks are reciprocated by the people in the form of rise in the number of terrorists, to take the revenge of their loved ones. As observed in the past, drones would not win the war for NATO and U.S. Rather it would create more militants, who would further destabilize the already crises region. As per a recent analysis of Eric Margolis, “Amazing as it sounds, NATO, the world’s most powerful military alliance, may be losing the only war the 61-year old pact ever fought. All its soldiers, heavy bombers, tanks, helicopter gunships, armies of mercenaries, and electronic gear are being beaten by a bunch of lightly-armed Afghan farmers and mountain tribesmen.”
The NATO and U.S forces are far superior militarily to pin down Afghan resistance of few thousands irregulars, but they have miserably failed so far. Indeed, these forces are not only high in numbers but also “equipped with a massive air power, have the facility of satellite imagery and Aerial Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance systems, which are the ultimate real time aid to aerial intelligence.” In spite of these if an ordinary man has swindled them all, than, they need to re-asses their competence level. Should not this be a high time for ISAF to leave Afghanistan and Hamid Karazai to hand over power to a rightful Afghan who has the confidence of masses and can control, what is in a worst shape now?