Infuriated that Washington met secretly at least three times with a personal emissary of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Afghan government intentionally leaked details of the clandestine meetings, scuttling the talks and sending the Taliban intermediary into hiding, reports have said.
In a series of interviews with diplomats, current and former Taliban, Afghan government officials and a close childhood friend of the intermediary, Tayyab Aga, the AP learned Aga is hiding in Europe, and is afraid to return to Pakistan because of fears of reprisals. The United States has had no direct contact with him for months.
A senior U.S. official acknowledged that the talks imploded because of the leak and that Aga, while alive, had disappeared.
The U.S. acknowledged the talks after Afghan president Hamid Karzai confirmed published accounts about them in June, but has never publicly detailed the content, format or participants.