He was the man they called the mullah with a human face, the internet mullah, or the Rudolph Hess of the Taliban. Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil was the Taliban’s foreign minister. It was he who in October 2001, a month after 9/11 and weeks before the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, broke ranks with the hardline clerical leadership and tried to broker a peace deal with Washington.
Eight years on, as the West struggles to form a coherent policy on Afghanistan amid mounting domestic opposition to the war, Mullah Muttawakil has claimed that the West has repeatedly squandered chances for peace.
“We have seen a lot of fighting since then, a lot of blood has been spilt, all for what?” he asked. “They are saying now that they will talk to some of the Taliban. That is what I said to them just after the war. I offered to put them in touch with the relevant people. Their answer was to put me in jail.” [continued…]