|8 yrs on, Omar returns to haunt US
Scott Shane, NYT News Service 12 October 2009, 02:36am IST
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WASHINGTON: In late 2001, Mullah Muhammad Omar’s prospects seemed utterly bleak. The ill-educated, one-eyed leader of the Taliban had fled on a
motorbike after his fighters were swiftly routed by the Americans invading Afghanistan.
Eight years later, Mullah Omar leads an insurgency that has gained steady ground in much of Afghanistan against the much better equipped American and Nato forces.
“This is an amazing story,” said Bruce Riedel, an ex-CIA officer who coordinated the Obama administration’s review of Afghan policy in the spring. “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.”
Mullah Omar heads the Taliban’s Rahbari Shura, or leadership council, often called the Quetta Shura since it relocated to the Pakistani city in 2002. The shura, consisting of the Taliban commanders, “operates like the politburo of a communist party,” setting broad strategy, said Yusufzai.
Rahimullah Yusufzai, of the News International, a Pakistani newspaper, who interviewed Mullah Omar a dozen times before 2001, called him “a man of few words.” But his reputed humility, his legend as a ferocious fighter against Soviet invaders in the 1980s, and his success in ending the lawlessness and bloody warlords’ feuds of the early 1990s cemented his power.
“His followers adore him, believe in him and are willing to die for him,” Yusufzai said. Mullah Omar “remains an inspiration, sending out letters and audiotapes to his commanders and fighters,” he said.
A recent assessment by Gen Stanley McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan, identified the Taliban as the most important part of the insurgents, who currently have the initiative” and “the overall situation is deteriorating.”
(my comment)In the red corner the Talebans, in the blue corner nearly half of the civilized world. The mujahadeen clearly remains the greatest military force of all time. The curse stands!! Empires come to die in Afghanistan.