NATO Escorts Taliban Elite to Afghan Peace Talks
Talks have included commanders at the highest level of insurgency
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2010 7:49 AM CDT
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, second left prays with members of the Afghanistan's peace council, Oct. 7, 2010.   (AP Photo/ Gemunu Amarasinghe)
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(Newser) – NATO troops have been helping top Taliban commanders get to Kabul for face-to-face peace talks with Hamid Karzai, sources tell the New York Times. In at least one case, Taliban leaders actually hopped aboard a NATO aircraft to make the journey, and in others NATO has secured roads, promising leaders safe passage through NATO-controlled areas.

At least four Taliban leaders, three from the Quetta shura and one from the Haqqani network, took part in talks. The Times says it’s withholding their identities at the White House’s behest, but would say that they were “commanders from the highest levels of the group’s leadership.” The White House fears that, if the men’s identities were disclosed, they'd face reprisals from rival Taliban chiefs or Pakistani intelligence agents.