This blog aims to highlight issues and information that don't always make it into the mainstream media. Recognising that comment is cheap, wherever possible it will link you directly to documents and sources that are mentioned in the text.
I realised some time ago that it was impossible to write about Afghanistan without writing about Pakistan and other neighbouring countries. With that in mind, the reader will come across articles that, while not specifically about Afghanistan, in some way shed light on the conflict.
Last Saturday (see below) I asked if it was possible that Afghan Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Barodar, pictured above, was leading peace efforts, having been released from custody in Pakistan. Yesterday the Daily Telegraphconfirmed that he was indeed at the centre of these discussions. The paper said: "Highly-placed sources have told The Telegraph that Barodar has been meeting with Taliban commanders in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with security guarantees from both governments and the US. Four other Pakistan-based Taliban leaders supportive of Barodar are also thought to have been contact with US authorities, and are reported to have travelled into Afghanistan under NATO escort on several occasions. "Barodar isn't acting on our behalf but our understanding is that he is meeting with people in his organisation to build a consensus that will let the Taliban come to the dialogue table," an Afghan official said." Update: The ISI is saying that there is no truth in the fact that Barodar was released recently. See this article in the WSJ, for example.