To mourn the death of their leader and mentor, many former Afghan Taliban officials held a prayer meeting in Kabul on Monday.
According to reports, the meeting was attended by senior leaders of Harakat-e-InqilabIslami Afghanistan, Shura-e-Insijam-e-Ulema-e-Afghanistan and members of the High Peace Council.
In an extraordinary gathering, the former militant officials paid glowing tributes to Mullah Mohammad Omar, the former supreme leader of the Afghan Taliban.
The reports about Mullah Omar’s death had been doing rounds over the past few weeks and it was finally confirmed by the Afghan government and the Taliban this week.
Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, who served as the deputy of Mullah Omar for many years, has been appointed the new chief (amir) of the Taliban.
Mullah Omar's son Mullah Mohammad Yaqoub has been appointed as Mullah Mansour’s first deputy (naibameer) and Sirajuddin Haqqani has been appointed the operational commander.
While the death of Mullah Omar has been confirmed, there are conflicting reports about the cause of death. The mystery surrounding his death was as intense as the mystery surrounding his life
While the death of Mullah Omar has been confirmed, there are conflicting reports about the cause of death. The mystery surrounding his death was as intense as the mystery surrounding his life.
While Afghan government officials said he died in a Karachi hospital in 2013, Mullah Omar’s son has reportedly claimed that his father was murdered.
Former Taliban members who spoke at the meeting also rejected the ‘natural death’ theory and said there is more to it than meets the eye.
Maulavi Qalamuddin, a former Taliban leader, said it is hard to believe that the former Taliban leader who was wanted by the most powerful intelligence agency should have died peacefully on a hospital bed.
There are also reports that the election of Mullah Mansour has been opposed by many members of Taliban’s Quetta Shura, who do not see him as the rightful heir.
Mr. Qalamuddin acknowledged that some members of the Quetta Shura are apparently not happy with the decision to appoint Mullah Mansour as the new chief.
The former Taliban members who were present at the meeting called on the group leaders to leave Pakistan, which they believe is not a friendly country.
The cracks and internal divisions in the militant group have emerged since the appointment of Mullah Mansour as Mullah Omar’s successor.
In his first message as the new Taliban chief, Mullah Mansour called on the militant leadership to unite under one banner, which bears testimony to the infighting and power struggle within the group.
In his first message as the new Taliban chief, Mullah Mansour called on the militant leadership to unite, which bears testimony to the infighting and power struggle within the group
According to observers, it was bound to happen because Mullah Mansour cannot command the same degree of respect and loyalty from Taliban leaders and fighters as his predecessor did.
Mullah Omar, who was conferred the title of ‘Ameerul Momineen’ (commander of the faithful) on April 4, 1996 and also appointed the group head, was considered the spiritual leader by the Taliban.
Despite being elusive since 2001, when the Taliban regime was toppled by the U.S.-led allied forces, he continued to be the figurehead and maintained contact with his fighters through his messengers.
“Mullah Omar was like glue that held the group together, and nobody can take his position in the militant group and that is why we are seeing divisions in the Taliban,” says Mohammad Habib Amiri, a political analyst.
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