Afghanistan, Ireland and MI6

Moon of Alabama offers a compelling reconstruction of the blown MI6 back-channel operation in Afghanistan, about which new details have emerged in the past few days.

He also draws attention to Syed Saleem Shahzad’s allegations in the Asia Times, about Irish official Michael Semple. It’s worth noting that the British official expelled from Afghanistan along with Semple, Mervyn Patterson, is from Northern Ireland.

This is highly suggestive given MI6’s long history in Ireland of involvement in back-channel negotiations that did not always have universal support on their own side, a feature that appears to have been repeated in  Afghanistan.

One interesting question is whether the Irish Government could have wittingly co-operated with such an operation. It could be interpreted as consistent with its commitment to export the peace process model.

It may also be significant that there are seven members of the Irish Defence Forces working at ISAF HQ in Kabul, four of whom are employed in the liaison and negotiations branch.



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One response to “Afghanistan, Ireland and MI6”

  1. Belfast Gonzo avatar

    Hi Tom
    According to one source, both the men expelled from Afghanistan may have been from Northern Ireland. Even if not, the symmetry and symbolism of using a Catholic and Protestant wasn’t lost on me.

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