The Washington Post’s piece on the matter, has the Afghan government blaming the mistake on British ‘haste’ for a political settlement. In The Times the recently retired US representative in Kandahar, reflects that “senior US military always felt that their British comrades in arms might outrun their headlights on reconciliation unless reined in.”
Given that the Americans seem to have been sceptical of the supposed Mansour on the grounds that he wasn’t as tall as he should be, it shows just how willing the British were to suspend disbelief to try and jumpstart the peace process. The desire for a political settlement is totally understandable. But as John Bew and Martyn Frampton’s excellent book, Talking to Terrorists, argues peace deals are most likely to stick when the insurgency feels that it is failing militarily. That is not currently the case in Afghanistan.