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Who Is In Charge: Mehsud Or Mullah Omar?

Americans have now been saying for several months that the Taleban and Al-Qaeda have shifted their focus of attacks from Afghanistan to destabilize Pakistan. "Al-Qaeda right now seems to have turned its face toward Pakistan and attacks on the Pakistani government and Pakistan people," US Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Washington Post on Dec 21, 2007. Most of the recent activities including a big surge in suicide bombings in Pakistan seem to confirm this belief. It appears that Baitullah Mehsud has been the main commander leading the charge against Pakistani military and political leadership, while Mullah Omar has not been heard from. This is likely to change, if today's report in Asia Times On Line turns out to be accurate. ATOL is reporting that Mullah Omar has fired Baitullah Mehsud and decided to turn his attention for a major spring offensive against the US/NATO forces in Afghanistan. Mehsud was expected to provide valuable support to the Taliban in Afghanistan, but instead he directed all his fighters against Pakistani security forces. This has apparently angered Mullah Omar who may personally take charge of the Taleban in Pakistan, in addition to his leadership of the Taleban in Afghanistan. This may also be an indication of split between Al-Qaeda and the Taleban in Pakistan.
While this would help relieve pressure in Pakistan in the near future, the Americans and NATO are likely to continue to press President Musharraf to not let up on the Taleban forces to minimize the impact of their planned offensive in Afghanistan.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on March 10, 2019 at 10:56am

Fugitive #Taliban leader Mullah Omar lived short walk from #American base, died and buried in #Afghanistan in 2013 , book reveals https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/10/fugitive-taliban-lead...

The Taliban’s elusive one-eyed leader Mullah Omar lived within walking distance of US bases in Afghanistan for years, and American troops once even searched the house where he was hiding but failed to find a secret room built for him, a new biography claims.

The account exposes an embarrassing failure of US intelligence, which put a $10m bounty on Omar’s head after the 9/11 attacks in the US. Officials repeatedly suggested that, like the al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, he was hiding in Pakistan and died there.

It also upends the Taliban’s own account of their movement, revealing how Omar handed over practical control of the insurgency to his deputies in 2001, even though they claimed him as leader for the rest of his life, and for two years after his death in 2013.

While statements issued in his name were scrutinised around the world, he was living as a virtual hermit, refusing visits from his family, filling notebooks with jottings in an invented language and occasionally hiding from US patrols in irrigation tunnels.

Omar fell ill in 2013, coughing, vomiting, and eventually losing his appetite, but he refused any form of medical care. Omari offered to bring him a doctor or drive him to Pakistan, but Omar appeared resigned to his fate and died on 23 April.

Omari buried him that night, and made a video to show to Omar’s son Yaqub and half-brother Abdul Manan. They had not seen Omar since 2001, but travelled to his hideout several days later and insisted on opening the grave to confirm it was him.

They confirmed that it was Omar’s corpse buried in a simple grave in a remote corner of Zabul, but it would be two years before they admitted to their own fighters, and the rest of the world, that the one-eyed ascetic who once defined their movement had died.

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