Afghans Leaked US-Taliban Talks to End Them

US contact Tayyab Aga has fled to Europe
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2011 9:52 AM CDT
Afghan President Hamid Karzai gestures as he leaves after addressing a group of students headed to India and Turkey, at the presidential palace in Kabul in this August 14, 2011 file photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Someone in the Afghan presidential palace intentionally leaked the news that the US was negotiating with the Taliban, scuttling the talks and sending the US contact into hiding, sources tell the AP. Hamid Karzai didn't trust the US and feared any deal between it and the Taliban would diminish his authority, the sources said, though they disagreed on how directly Karzai, who was the first to publicly confirm the reports, was to blame.

The US contact, Tayyab Aga, was a personal emissary of Mullah Mohammed Omar. The talks had made progress by the time of the leak, with the US offering small concessions like treating the Taliban and al-Qaeda differently under international sanctions and promising not to interfere if the Taliban opened up shop in a third country. Aga, meanwhile, helped secure the release of a captive US Army officer. The talks were kept secret from Pakistan, and now Aga is afraid he'll face reprisals if he returns there; he's gone to ground in Europe.

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