Conning the Taliban 

Confessions of a phony American peace negotiator

ANN ARBOR, MICH.­--For much of 2010, U.S. and NATO bigwigs conducted secret peace talks with Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, the No. 2 Taliban official. They paid him tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of dollars to show good will.

"But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all," reports The New York Times. The phony Mansour, Afghan intelligence agents say, was actually "a shopkeeper from the Pakistani city of Quetta" who looked nothing like the real guy.

Yes, our government and military are headed by dumb-as-rocks hillbillies. But the Taliban can be fooled, too--as I learned during my own secret mission deep in the valleys between the mountains of the Hindu Kush.

I found myself short of cash while in Afghanistan in August, so I devised an ingenious scheme. Call it Operation Turnabout: Why not present myself to the Taliban as a high-ranking American official eager to end the war?

Finding Talibs didn't take long. I walked up to two guys planting an IED--or they were stoning some chick. I don't remember.

"Salaam," I greeted them. "I am American Vice President Joe Biden. Take me forthwith to your leader, Mullah Omar."

The rogues chucked me into the back of their Land Cruiser, wrapped in duct tape. Eventually, we stopped. They ripped the tape off. "American dog!" they cried in unison.

My animal cunning was too much for the two undereducated brutes. "Alas," I replied, "my White House Amex card is not accepted by yon locals. Might I 'borrow' some money?"

Soon I was 17 afghanis richer. A day or two later, I was carried into an empty concrete room somewhere in the remote tribal areas along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. A bearded man with an eye patch walked in.

"I am Mullah Mohammed Omar, head of the Supreme Council and commander of the faithful of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," he said.

"Hi there," I said. "I am American Vice President Joe Biden."

"How do I know you are who you say you are?" he asked.

"Ask me anything," I said. "The combination to the safe where the Oval Office porn is kept. Vladimir Putin's cell number. I can even identify most of the American states."

"But you could say anything," he said. "We have no way to check it out. The United States is a distant country. Its leaders have never been seen in public, certainly not by Afghans. We don't even know if there is a 'Joe Biden.'"

"We must trust one another if there is to be peace," I pointed out. "As you may have heard, we Americans have spent all our money on bonuses for bank CEOs and hedge fund managers. So if our quest for peace is to have a future, you must front me cash."

Sated with watery tea and partially cooked goat parts, I headed for the Peshawar bus terminal, where I reserved two full seats in coach.

My ruse continued throughout the month. Sometimes the two cartoonists with whom I was traveling asked me where I was spending nights. "With Mullah Omar!" I wanted to shout. "Eating his nan and blowing through dozens of his afghanis!" But I couldn't.

Yes, we are a dumber-than-dumb people led by a stupider-than-stupid government. But the Taliban aren't much smarter.

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