The New York Times reports that a man claiming to be a senior Taliban commander flew on NATO aircraft, entered the presidential palace in Kabul, discussed peace efforts with president Hamid Karzai and received a "sizable sum of money" for his trouble. Problem is he wasn't the Taliban's Mullah Mansour!
Meanwhile in London, 27-year-old Janis Nords has been tried and sentenced after a spree of fine dining that left 9 top London restaurants footing a $9300 bill after Mr Nords did the old eat 'n run trick.
The slippery epicurean has been ordered to pay the outstanding bills and banned for 1 year from 6 London postcodes, home to many of the English capital's top restaurants.
The last leader of the Soviet Union has told NATO that "victory is impossible in Afghanistan." Mikhail Gorbachev told the BBC that the alternative to withdrawal from Afghanistan was "another Vietnam."
You would've thought that the US which provides the overwhelming majority of NATO's forces in Afghanistan already knew this. It's not like this is the Americans' first foray into Afghanistan. Back in the 1980s the United States and its allies fought the Soviets by proxy in Afghanistan, supporting local Afghan militias, aka Mujahideen. The Muj, as they were called by the press corps, proceeded to turn the Soviets' life into a living nightmare prompting the eventual withdrawal. The Muj used US Stinger and British Blowpipe missiles as well as Egyptian-made AK-47s (I saw one there in 1995) and an assortment of other bang bang materiel. That the Muj then pointed their guns at each other and turned virtually the whole country into rubble is superfluous. Afghanistan became a forgotten country in the collective conscience of the world. By then it didn't matter as the Soviets had been defeated. As for the unfortunate civilians, well... who cares.
Isn't there somewhere a saying about history repeating itself?
So Hamid Karzai acknowledges that his presidential office receives hundreds of thousands of Euros in cash and that this is absolutely "transparent". Maybe the transparent bit is the plastic bags that the money comes in.
Not that Aghanistan is the only place that this takes place in. But the cash is ususally delivered in briefcases, backpacks or satchels. Obviously the intention of leaking this story to the New York Times was to embarrass Karzai and expose the cash source (Iran), which it did, hence the press conference and the admission.
A man on a long journey through a perpetual desert.
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