Taliban confirms Omar’s death; Mullah Akhtar becomes new chief

“Of course he wanted the foreigners out of Afghanistan, but Mullah Mansoor consistently told Mullah Omar that war was not the solution in Afghanistan“, Mujda said. It is widely believed that Mansoor is close to Pakistan and that his actions have reflected the bidding of Islamabad.


Mullah Omar was the one-eyed, secretive head of the Taliban, whose group hosted Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaida in the years leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks and then waged a decade-long insurgency against after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that ended the Taliban rule. And like Mullah Omar, details about his exact age, family and whereabouts are largely unknown outside the secretive upper echelons of the group.

In recent years, his son Sirajuddin has taken on increasing leadership within the group from his father, who was born in 1942. He said he was not aware of the refusal of the Taliban, or when the second round would take place.

The Taliban has had only one leader since its formation in the early 1990s.

Afghans with knowledge of Mansoor’s years with the Taliban describe him as a low-level administrator who mostly dealt with organizational matters and was not among the top 10 Taliban leaders at the time. A second round of talks were postponed after Omar’s death was made public.

The Haqqani militant faction leader Siraj Haqqani within the Taliban has been selected as Mansour’s deputy.

Bette Dam, author of an upcoming biography of Mullah Omar, said the supreme leader’s absence paralysed many Taliban officials.

Haseeb Sediqi, spokesman for Afghanistan’s intelligence service, said Wednesday that Omar had died in a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, in April 2013.

Despite Mansour’s appointment, the Pakistani government has said peace talks which were due for tomorrow have been suspended at the Taliban’s request.

American officials said they had long ago come to believe that Mullah Omar’s role in the insurgency was primarily spiritual, and that he had little to no operational control over the Taliban.

According to BBC Afghan editor Waheed Massoud, the others included Tayeb Agha, the head of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, and Mullah Habibullah, a member of the Quetta shura.

The Taliban statement added that three days of mourning would be observed for Omar.

U.S. officials did not respond when asked to assess the effect of the announcement of Omar’s death on the talks, which the United States has backed, but analysts said it could further fragment the Taliban movement and make peace even more elusive.


“They can accept the government of Afghanistan’s invitation to join a peace process… or they can choose to continue fighting Afghans and destabilising their own country”, he said. According to US and Afghan intelligence reports, the Haqqani Network was based in Pakistan’s tribal North Waziristan till June last year when military operation was launched in the area though it has carried out several major attacks inside Afghanistan.

Former Taliban leader Mullah Omar