UK-Taliban Secret Talks Come to Light

Despite denials, British intelligence organized series of 'jirgas'
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2007 2:45 PM CST
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, flanked by Foreign Minister David Miliband, right, and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, makes a statement to the House of Commons regarding Government plans to split the...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – British intelligence agents held a series of secret talks with leading members of the Taliban this summer, reports the Telegraph. At jirgas in Afghanistan, the country's secret service attempted peace negotiations and offered "mentoring." Details of the meetings—as many as a half dozen—emerged just as Afghan officials ordered two European officials working for the EU and the UN deported for alleged meetings with the Taliban

Gordon Brown was expected to acknowledge the talks and announce a shift in strategy in an appearance at the House of Commons 2 weeks ago. Instead the PM denied reports, telling MPs, "We will not enter into any negotiations with these people." It's thought that Washington was extremely upset with its ally's plan to negotiate with a group it considers a terrorist organization.