WASHINGTON (TIP): The United States and other stakeholders in Afghanistan are scrambling to organize a response to the sudden disclosure that Taliban chief Mullah Omar has been dead for sometime and a council of the rebel Islamist seminary has appointed his deputy Mullah Akhtar Mansour as his successor.
Confirmation of Mullah Omar’s death and the succession has been officially conveyed through the Afghan government by a Taliban faction that is in favour of talks with Kabul. But some Taliban leaders are said to be opposed to the talks, and they are the ones who have apparently kept Mullah Omar “alive” to serve their ends.
The peace process suffered a blow earlier on Thursday, first when the Afghan Taliban indicated they were pulling out of the negotiations with the Kabul government, and later, when the Pakistan foreign ministry confirmed the talks hosted by Islamabad were postponed.
The one-eyed bandit, a semiliterate peasant who directed Afghanistan back to the stone age during the time he was the “Emir” under Pakistan’s patronage, is said to have died of tuberculosis at least two years ago in Karachi. The news was kept secret as Pakistan continued to manipulate various Taliban factions in an effort to maintain its leverage in Afghanistan.
Some Pakistani accounts, in order to avoid implicating Islamabad from charges that it was hiding him, maintain that he died in Afghanistan.
In either event, the Obama White House said reports of Mullah Omar’s death are credible. “The intelligence community is looking at these reports and continues to assess the circumstances around his death,” spokesman Eric Schultz said. But, US continued to keep the fugitive who sheltered Osama bin Laden on its Rewards for Justice page, where there is a bounty up to $10 million for information that brings him to justice. Eventually though, illness is reported to have done to him what American justice could not.
Following Mansour’s election, the Taliban also chose Sirajuddin Haqqani as its new deputy leader, a report said. Haqqani has a US government bounty of$10 million on his head as a leader of the extremist Haqqani network, which has carried numerous attacks on Afghanistan from their base in Pakistan’s North Waziristan.
Meanwhile, Pakistan, which is said to have sheltered the terrorist, once again escaped unscathed. No one in the US administration or its roster of regional experts and analysts have really questioned the serial transgression of a terrorist-supporting and terrorism-patronizing state that has hosted the world’s most wanted men — from Osama bin Laden to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to Dawood Ibrahim, among dozens of other terrorists. Instead, there are now romanticized commentaries how US may actually miss Mullah Omar because he was the unifying factor in the Taliban.
Backed by Pakistan’s military and its intelligence agency ISI, Omar and his band of extremist yahoos wrecked Afghanistan while hosting and supporting fellow terrorists like Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who would eventually plan 9/11. All Pakistan got out of the whole fiasco was more misery for its people, but its army fattened itself on the billions of dollars the west poured into the region as it fought al-Qaida and Taliban.