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British said to pay fake Taliban leader

LONDON, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Britain did not respond Friday to Afghan charges its agents introduced an impostor posing as a Taliban leader into President Hamid Karzai's palace.

Earlier this week, a New York Times investigation revealed that a man calling himself Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour had held three meetings with NATO and Afghan officials and met Karzai.

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Karzai's chief of staff, Mohammad Umer Daudzai, said unidentified British officials brought the man to meet Karzai in July or August, the Washington Post reported Friday. Afghan intelligence later established he was really a shopkeeper from Quetta, Pakistan.

Britain's MI6 paid the impostor at least $100,000 over a year, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday, citing unnamed intelligence sources.

When an Afghan who knew the real Mansour revealed the error, the man was allowed to return to Pakistan, according to reports.

MI6 is thought to have made contact with the false Mansour in Quetta, where the Taliban leadership is based.

It is not clear who was responsible for trying to verify his identity.

"It's not him," a Western diplomat in Kabul told the New York Times. "And we gave him a lot of money."

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