The curious case of Mullah Omar

WASHINGTON: The highly-sophisticated and heavily armed US and allied forces fighting against militants in Afghanistan are losing ground and the biggest thorn in their sides seems to be a man they believed they had defeated eight years go: Mullah Omar.

A report in the New York Times details the little-known history of this one-eyed, ill-educated Taliban leader who is causing much trouble to the Obama administration and the Nato-Isaf forces.

‘He’s a semiliterate individual who has met with no more than a handful of non-Muslims in his entire life. And he’s staged one of the most remarkable military comebacks in modern history,’ the report quotes a former CIA official as saying.

It is believed that the man who started fighting against ‘foreign forces’ in the 1980’s has massive following among the Taliban. Not only that, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is believed to have shown great respect to this ‘man of few words.’

While Omar himself does not engage in day-to-day operations, his deputies are known to operate all across the militant network, the report adds.

The bond between the Taliban and al-Qaeda is particularly troubling the Western allied forces as it has helped the militants form a decentralized network, inter-linking with various splinter groups.

‘We’ve been trying for 13 years to get the Taliban to break with Al Qaeda and turn over bin Laden, and they haven’t done it,’ the Riedel CIA official adds. ‘Whatever the bond is between them, it’s stood the test of time.’

—The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/world/asia/11mullah.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp)

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