May 23, 2011
UK intel: Taliban won’t make a deal
by Tom Newton Dunn, Political Editor
The Sun (U.K.)
Spy bosses have warned Barack Obama and David Cameron that their secret plan to cut a peace deal with the Taliban is failing.
The PM ordered MI6 to start talks with the fanatics weeks after coming to power a year ago, The Sun can reveal.
He and the US President believe a horse trade with their hated enemy is the only way to end the ten-year war.
But so far, all efforts to bring Taliban chief Mullah Omar and his senior lieutenants to the table have failed - because the Taliban DON'T want to talk.
The highly sensitive issue was thrust back into the limelight by Mr Obama yesterday.
Ahead of his first State visit to Britain tomorrow, the American leader admitted that peace in Afghanistan "ultimately means talking to the Taliban".
Mr Cameron will hold urgent talks with the President on the faltering Afghan exit strategy when they meet at No 10 on Wednesday.
A senior Whitehall official said last night: "MI6 are trying very hard but they are not getting a good response.
"It is very tough. They move one step forward and then two steps back. It's the same with the other countries that are trying."
The official added: "There is a growing consensus that the PM will have to lower our demands significantly before we get anywhere with the Taliban."
A senior US source said: "We are creating the military conditions for talks to happen but we can't find anyone senior enough to talk to.
"It has to be someone with the blessing of Mullah Omar and his cronies. But the message keeps coming back that they are not interested."