Mullah Omar, the dreaded supreme leader of Afghan Taliban, died two years ago from Tuberculosis, Pakistan told Afghan government officials. Afghan news agency the Khaama Press said Mullah Omar’s death was discussed during a meeting of Afghanistan cabinet after Pakistani authorities confirmed the reports.
Though Pak authorities said Mullah Omar died two years ago, they did not provide further details regarding the circumstances surrounding his death. The Afghan Taliban has not officially confirmed the reports, but a representative told BBC News that the militant group would issue a statement shortly. A current council member and a former Afghan Taliban minister who spoke on the condition of anonymity told The Express Tribune that Omar died two years and four months ago.
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Mullah Omar Buried In Afghanistan
The former minister added that Mullah Omar’s body was buried on the Afghan side of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Omar’s son had identified his body before the burial. Earlier this month, the Afghan Taliban had issued a message, which was attributed to Mullah Omar, on the festival of Eid al-Fitr. The message tried to justify the recent peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban.
The disclosure of his death come as the Afghan Taliban called a meeting on Wednesday to elect a new chief. The ex-Afghan Taliban minister told The Express Tribune that he was also invited to the meeting. The successor to Mullah Omar will be announced before the next round of peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan government officials. Th peace talks will be held o July 31 in Pakistan.
Who will be the next supreme leader of Taliban?
Mullah Baradar Akhund is widely expected to succeed Mullah Omar as the new supreme leader of the Afghan Taliban. Notably, Mullah Baradar and Mullah Ubaidullah Akhund were appointed as deputy leaders while Omar was still alive. Mullah Ubaidullah died in a Pakistani jail, leaving Mullah Baradar as the only deputy leader.
According to reports from Pakistan, Mullah Baradar and some other Taliban leaders were released by Pakistan in 2013. Afghan Taliban leaders told The Express Tribune that Mullah Baradar has the full support of Sayed Tayyab Agha, the chief of Afghan Taliban’s political office in Qatar. Mullah Omar’s son Mullah Yaqub has also voiced support for Mullah Baradar as the next leader of the Afghan Taliban.
How many times did Mullah Omar die?
It’s not the first time the reports of his death have surfaced. The reclusive Taliban leader was declared dead many times in the last several years. However, this is the first time top sources in Pakistan and Afghanistan government have confirmed his death. Taliban fighters and leaders haven’t heard directly from their supreme leader since 2007.
The Taliban have released a number of messages attributed to the fugitive one-eyed leader. However, these messages were mostly in the form of text published on the Taliban’s website, instead of a video or audio recording. It had fueled speculations in the past that the leader was incapacitated or dead. Omar is still carrying $10 million bounty on his head.
A short history of Mullah Omar
Earlier this year, the Afghan Taliban published a 5,000-word biography of their leader to mark the 19th year of Omar as the militant group’s chief. According to the biography, Omar was born in 1960 in a small village of Chah-i-Himmat in the Khakrez district of Kandahar province. The RPG 7 was his favorite weapon, and he led a simple life, claims the biography. Omar had a “special sense of humor.”
The biography refers to Omar as “Mujahid” and says he belonged to Tomzi clan of the Hotak tribe. His father died just five years after Omar’s birth. Mullah Omar had abandoned studies at a madrassa school to become a jihadist after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.
The biography claimed Omar “remains it touch” with day-to-day national and international events. He was wounded four times while fighting Russians between 1983 and 1991, and lost his one eye. Mullah Omar led the Afghan Taliban to victory over rival militant groups following the withdrawal of Soviet troops. In 1996, he was conferred the title of “Ameer-ul-momineen” (chief of the pious believers).
The one-eyed Taliban leader ruled Afghanistan with an iron fist between 1996 and 2001. Ever wondered why the U.S. launched a strike in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks in New York? Because of Mullah Omar’s backing for Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. The U.S.-led forces overthrew Mullah Omar’s government in 2001.
The Taliban leader didn’t own a home. He had been living in hiding since the ouster of his government in 2001. Experts believe that the Taliban is currently trying to counter the growing influence of Islamic State in Afghanistan. In the past few years, Mullah Omar’s brother Mullah Abdul Manan has become actively involved in the Taliban affairs.