Mervyn Patterson and Michael Semple, the two UN diplomats dismissed from Afghanistan for making contact with the Taliban, were sent home after the US made complaints about them to the Afghan government.
Gordon Brown now discovers what it means to try to implement a policy which Washington are not in total agreement with.
But according to a senior Afghan intelligence source, American officials had been unhappy about meetings between the men and high-level Taliban commanders in the volatile Helmand province.
The source claimed that the US alerted Afghan authorities after learning that the diplomats were providing direct financial and other support - including mobile phone cards - to the Taliban commanders, in the hope of persuading them to swap sides.
"This warning came from the Americans," he said. "They were not happy with the support being provided to the Taliban. They gave the information to our intelligence services, who ordered the arrests."
A government source in Kabul said there were close links between Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the US Central Intelligence Agency, adding:
"The Afghan government would never have acted alone to expel officials of such a senior level. This was information that was given to the NDS by the Americans.
Britain's "special relationship" with the US is only special as long as Britain is following the Bush doctrine.
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