Peace Talks held with Taliban Impostor
For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.
It turns out, however, that Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little.
“It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.”
American officials confirmed Monday that they had given up hope that the Afghan was Mr. Mansour, or even a member of the Taliban leadership. So much for our great intelligence….
It appeared to be a harrowing story of survival emerged from Suisun Bay on Monday – that of a wayward rafter who spent five days stranded on a deserted island nibbling on vitamins and native plants and fashioning a crude “SOS” sign until the U.S. Coast Guard rescued him.
After returning to shore, however, Brian “Goat Man” Hopper added a twist to the tale. He admitted that he failed to make use of a key piece of equipment during his stay on Roe Island north of Concord: a cellular telephone.
“I was embarrassed to be stranded on an island,” Hopper, a 54-year-old artist from Encino (Los Angeles County), told The Chronicle. “I thought I could fix my boat and make it to land. … I didn’t want to spend the taxpayers’ money to have the Coast Guard come rescue some stupid guy.”
But on Monday morning, the Coast Guard did collect Hopper on a 25-foot boat after receiving a call from one of his friends – a man Hopper had telephoned directly.
I got to watch "the Saints Game" yesterday and they came through with flying colors beating the Dallas Cowboys.
This makes me smile for a couple of reasons. First, I don't get to see the Saints play every week because they don't show all the games on TV here (and I am too cheap to buy that NFL package on cable).
The second reason is more personal. It was the Dallas Cowboys, back in the early 80's that was playing the first time I saw the Saints in person. I was in New Orleans on business (well, mostly) and a friend had tickets to the game. I was living in Dallas and was a Cowboys fan so I was happy to go. The Cowboys were #1 and the Saints were 2nd from last, so I was surprised to see the stadium almost sold out. I could not believe it, but the Saint fans were there in force --many of them wearing brown paper bags over their heads but carrying "Go Saints" signs. I was so impressed I felt that any team with fans that had heart like that deserved to win!
I converted and became a Saints fan on the spot and have been ever since. Of course, it took over 20 years before they ever even made the play offs, but they have been making up for it ever since (as anyone who watched them beat the Cowboys yesturday will tell you).
GO SAINTS!!! -- WHO DAT?
On this day in history in 1778 Capt Cook discovers Maui, in 1924 Mongolian People's Republic proclaimed and in 1990 Mikhail Gorbachev tells Iraq to get out of Kuwait
What did the scarf say to the hat?
You go on a head and I'll hang around here.
Live Long and Prosper....