Afghan Peace Talks Not Actually Happening: Officials

Experts say reports likely part of 'information strategy'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 22, 2010 7:18 AM CDT
Afghans listen to President Hamid Karzai in Argandab district of Kandahar province, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010.   (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)
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(Newser) – Don’t believe the reports of high-level peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government: No such discussions are taking place, say US officials and Afghan experts. Such reports, the experts noted, could be intended to divide Taliban bosses, McClatchy reports. “This is a psychological operation, plain and simple,” said one official. “There is a lot of smoke, but no fire,” added an Afghan scholar.

“Exaggerating the significance of it is an effort to sow distrust within the insurgency, to make insurgents suspicious with each other and to send them on witch hunts looking for traitors who want to negotiate with the enemy,” said the official. The Pentagon was mum on such an “information operation,” while Taliban bosses firmly denied any talks were occurring. Peace talk progress stands “at somewhere between one and two” out of 100, said an analyst.

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