NEWS: Talking to the Taliban

Britain in secret talks with the Taliban

Agents from MI6 entered secret talks with Taliban leaders despite Gordon Brown’s pledge that Britain would not negotiate with terrorists, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Officers from the Secret Intelligence Service staged discussions, known as “jirgas”, with senior insurgents on several occasions over the summer.

An intelligence source said: “The SIS officers were understood to have sought peace directly with the Taliban with them coming across as some sort of armed militia. The British would also provide ‘mentoring’ for the Taliban.”

The disclosure comes only a fortnight after the Prime Minister told the House of Commons: “We will not enter into any negotiations with these people.” [complete article]

Diplomats face expulsion from Afghanistan for ‘talking to the Taleban’

The United Nations is trying to reverse a decision by the Afghan government to expel two British and Irish diplomats who have been accused of negotiating with the Taleban.

Michael Semple, acting European Union mission head, and Mervyn Patterson, a senior UN official, are due to be deported tomorrow after the President’s office deemed that “their presence was detrimental to the national security of the country”. [complete article]

Murky world of Afghan negotiations

It now seems unlikely that frantic diplomatic efforts will prevent two European representatives from being expelled from Afghanistan.

Michael Semple, the acting head of the European Union mission, and Mervyn Patterson, who is British and is the UN’s political affairs officer, were in Helmand province talking to tribal elders.

But despite one arm of the Afghan government knowing about their trip, another arm appeared not to, and they were accused by a provincial official to talking to the Taleban. [complete article]

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