Two veteran diplomats left Afghanistan today after failing to refute accusations that they’d met with the Taliban, Reuters reports. A UN spokesman said the men were only “speaking to people on the ground,” and would return, but Afghan officials were resolute about barring the EU and UN reps. "They had met with leaders of suicide attacks," said one.
The men are accused of giving suicide attack leaders money. But in Helmand province, where the meeting allegedly occurred, the line between Taliban member and hostile local drug lord is blurry. “Tribal relationships are a very complex web,” the UN spokesman said. Both men knew that web well, having worked in Afghanistan for over a decade.