23 November 2010

Dear Friends: I Quit

According to the Washington Post, around 40% of Taliban "defectors" are imposters.

KABUL - A man purporting to be one of the Taliban's most senior commanders convinced both Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the NATO officials who flew him to Afghanistan's capital for meetings, but two senior Afghan officials now believe the man was a lowly shopkeeper from the Pakistani city of Quetta...
...The Afghans said they have not concluded what motivations the man was pursuing in taking the risk to claim he was a member of the Taliban's leadership council, the Quetta Shura, and in allowing himself to be escorted to Kabul to meet Karzai.
Some speculate that Pakistan's intelligence service might have sent the man to test the waters, to see what the Afghan government was offering. They also suggested this might have been a business opportunity, as senior insurgents potentially stand to make large sums of money if they defect.
"He could have been sent by the ISI," said one of the Afghan officials, referring to the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, Pakistan's spy agency.
Mansour was said to have taken over as the No. 2 Taliban commander after Abdul Ghani Baradar was arrested early this year by Pakistani officials. Afghan officials are convinced that the Pakistanis arrested Baradar because he had begun talking with the Afghan government about possible negotiations without their consent. Pakistan is widely suspected by U.S. and Afghan officials of harboring some insurgent leaders, including members of the Quetta Shura.
American officials pursuing lower-level Taliban defections have also struggled with identifying who they are dealing with. The senior NATO official said that about 40 percent of the time the men turning themselves over to the government may not be the Taliban fighters they claim to be, but rather are looking for money or protection or something else...
..."One would suspect that in our multibillion-dollar intel community there would be the means to differentiate between an authentic Quetta Shura emissary and a shopkeeper," ssaid a U.S. official in Kabul who did not know about the particulars of the Mullah Mansour case. "On the other hand, it doesn't surprise me in the slightest. It may have been Mullah Omar posing as a shopkeeper; I'm sure that our intel whizzes wouldn't have known."
Seriously?  The hell with this Army stuff, I could turn this into a serious career!  I mean, I could get either paid thousands of dollars to play make-believe with ISAF officials for a few hours, or, well, this:

I think I know which one I prefer...

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