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MI6 'promoted Taliban impostor'

MI6 agents were responsible for promoting an impostor who they believed was a senior Taliban commander key to the Afghan peace process, the Times reported Friday.

Intelligence agents paid the man several hundred thousand dollars, convinced he was a senior commander with the authority to negotiate with senior American and Afghan officials on behalf of the insurgents.

It is now believed that he was either a minor Taliban figure or simply a con-man.

A senior Afghan government official told the newspaper: "British intelligence was naive and there was wishful thinking on our part."

MI6 believed it had contacted Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, an ex-Taliban government minister and second to Mullah Omar in its leadership. They flew him to Kabul on numerous occasions. 

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