Apparently, peace talks with the alleged Taliban leader exposed as an imposter last week were approved by then-U.S. commander Stanley McChrystal.
And, per the Guardian, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's attempts to blame the British for this is U.S.-originated spin.
McChrystal asked MI6 to develop the contacts, rather than going to the CIA, which was not empowered by the necessary White House directive to enter into direct talks with Taliban officials. The absence of such a "presidential finding" is seen by many diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic as an obstacle to progress towards a political settlement.
Shock me. Shock me more if Dugout Dave Petraeus isn't behind the spin of blaming the British. The fact that Stan the Former Man used MI6 rather than CIA is the technicality wedge for Dugout Dave or whomever to claim this was a British operation.
Meanwhile, here's why we shouldn't be surprised we got punked:
British intelligence is conducting an inquiry into the episode, in part to uncover the motive. One theory is that it was an exercise in kite-flying by the Taliban, to discover what Kabul and the British were offering, without risking a senior figure in the movement. Taliban leaders have been wary about attending meetings with would-be mediators, fearing they are on a Nato hit-list, known as the Joint Priority Effects List. A Nato source said: "If you look at it from their point of view, as soon as they turn up for a meeting, they give us an eight-digit map reference of where they are. This, on the other hand, is no risk."
Of course, Stan the Former Man and Dugout Dave were also too dumb to think the Taliban might actually be worried about a set-up.