Taliban publish biography of 'RPG-loving' 'special' Mullah Omar

Mullah Mohammad Omar has been a fugitive for nearly a decade since his Taliban government was toppled with US help, but even before then he was a notorious recluse.
Afghans initially flocked to support Mullah Omar's and he was acclaimed 'Commander of the Faithful' by thousands of supporters 

The Afghan Taliban has published a biography of their "charismatic" supreme leader Mullah Omar, in which they say he has a "special" sense of humour and that his weapon of choice is a RPG-7 grenade launcher.

The Taliban have reportedly seen defections to Isil in recent months, with some insurgents expressing their disaffection with the one-eyed warrior-cleric who has not been seen since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

The 5,000-word biography, published on the Taliban's main website to commemorate Omar's 19th year as supreme leader, described him as being actively involved in "jihadi activities", dispelling speculation that he had died.

Lionising the "charismatic personality", the biography contains several anecdotes of battlefield valour and described the RPG-7 grenade launcher as Omar's "preferred weapon of choice".

It says he "remains in touch" with Afghan and global news and has a "special" sense of humour.

Despite being "regularly tracked by the enemy, no major change and disruption has been observed in the routine works of (Omar) in ... organising the jihadi activities as the leader of the Islamic Emirate," it said.

"He keenly follows and inspects the ... activities against the brutal infidel foreign invaders."

The US state department – which has a $10 million bounty on his head – describes him as a tall male with a shrapnel wound to the right eye.

The Taliban's surprise move to release his richly-detailed biography, even describing his personal and family life, took security analysts by surprise.

"The Taliban have posted Omar's biography for several strategic reasons – the most important of which is to counter Daesh influence in their ranks," said Ahmad Sayedi, an expert on the Taliban, alluding to the Arabic abbreviation for Isil.

"This announcement is also meant to show that Omar is alive and well and still in control as the supreme leader of the Taliban."

In the past 13 years, Omar has stayed completely out of the public eye amid growing power struggles within the Taliban and fears of the Isil group's influence in their ranks as an ideological rival.

The Afghan government has also raised the ominous prospect of Isil making inroads into the country, though the group that has taken over swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria has never formally acknowledged having a presence in Afghanistan.

In February a US-led Nato drone strike killed a former Taliban commander and a Guantánamo detainee suspected of links to Isil in the volatile southern province of Helmand.

Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim, who led around 300 men, had reportedly defected from the Taliban to join Isil.

The whereabouts of Omar remain a mystery but he is believed to be leading the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan from a hiding place somewhere in Pakistan.

Source : telegraph[dot]co[dot]uk
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