Afghan Taliban admit to covering up Mullah Omar’s death
The Taliban on Monday admitted covering up longtime leader Mullah Omar’s death for more than two years
The Taliban on Monday admitted covering up longtime leader Mullah Omar’s death for more than two years, saying he died in 2013 as was first claimed by the Afghan intelligence.
The group had continued as recently as July to release official statements in the name of Omar, who had not been seen in public since the Taliban were toppled from power in Kabul in 2001.
They confirmed on July 30 that he had died but did not say when, deepening internal divisions as many insurgents accused the leadership of covering up his death for two years.
A Taliban statement Monday admitted for the first time that he died on April 23, 2013. The detail was buried in a biography of new leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, Omar’s longtime deputy.
“Several key members of the supreme leading council of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) and authentic religious scholars together decided on concealing the tragic news of passing away of (Omar)... and keep this secret limited to the very few colleagues who were already informed of this incorrigible loss,” the biography said.
“One of the main reasons behind this decision was... that 2013 was considered the final year of power testing between the mujahidin and foreign invaders who... had announced that at the end of 2014, all military operations by foreign troops would be concluded.”
NATO ended its combat mission in Afghanistan last December and pulled out the bulk of its troops although a 13,000-strong residual force remains for training and counter-terrorism operations.
Confirmation of Omar’s death and Mansour’s contentious ascension triggered a power struggle within the Taliban at a time when the rival Islamic State group is making gradual inroads into Afghanistan.
Some top leaders including Omar’s son and brother have refused to pledge allegiance to new leader Mansour, saying the process to select him was rushed and biased.
The Taliban have suffered a string of defections to IS. The power struggle, observers say, could be a very effective recruitment tool for IS, potentially helping it attract more Taliban turncoats.
Head of Taliban’s Qatar office quits as leadership rift deepensMullah Akhtar Mansour was announced as the new Taliban chief on Friday after the insurgents confirmed the death of Mullah Omar Asia
Mullah Omar’s family rejects new Taliban leaderThe Afghan government has addressed the growing leadership crisis in the Taliban for the first time Middle East
Death of Taliban’s Mullah Omar remains mysteryWhite House says the U.S. intelligence community has found that circumstances of his death remain uncertain Middle East
What does Mullah Omar’s death mean for the Afghan peace process?Mullah Omar governed the country with an iron fist from 1996 until his government was overthrown by the U.S. military invasion Features
Afghan Taliban say 'unaware' of peace talks, no comment on Mullah OmarThe Taliban rejects reports on any fresh round of peace talks with Afghan government while making no comment on Mullah Omar's death World News
Mullah Omar’s death and the whirlwinds of AfghanistanMullah Omar conjured up similar feelings of power and dread for both friend and foe alike Middle East