Friday, November 4, 2011

Fail: Afghan Government Hires Fake Taliban to Surrender Their Arms

Musa Khan: Credit Shashank Bengali/MCT

The reason this Afghan Governor had to do this is the real Taliban aren't interested in making peace except on their terms. The plan was poorly executed and the fake Taliban were held by security forces who weren't informed of the sham.
GHAZNI, Afghanistan — It must have seemed like a good idea. With then-U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry in town, the newly installed provincial governor arranged for a surprise: Two Taliban insurgents would drop in on a ceremony in Eikenberry's honor, lay down their weapons and pledge to support the government in front of a large crowd of dignitaries.

Trouble was, no one informed the huge force of U.S. and Afghan soldiers who were guarding the event at the governor's compound here last December. Afghan security forces seized and held the two men, armed and dressed in black, at a checkpoint a few hundred yards from the event as they were driving to their appearance.

Later, it got more embarrassing for the governor, Musa Khan, when U.S. officials learned that he and another official had recruited and paid the men to show up in a bid to curry favor with Eikenberry. The governor's critics suspect that the men were hired flunkies.

"The whole thing was like a play," said Qazi Sahib Shah, a member of Ghazni's provincial council. "These were not real Taliban ready to make peace. The governor was trying to fool the Americans."

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