Apparently Mullah Omar is dead, or maybe it would be more appropriate to say that “he has been dead.” For a while now:
Taliban leader Mullah Omar died two years ago in Pakistan, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s security services says.
Abdul Hassib Seddiqi told the BBC’s Afghan Service that Mullah Omar had died of health problems at a hospital in Pakistan.
Afghanistan’s government says information on his death is “credible”.
OK, it’s credible. Presumably more credible than the time he reportedly died in 2011, which was later contradicted. There was a report late last year that Omar was dead and that the Taliban were in the midst of a succession struggle, which the Taliban later denied, but it would fit with today’s report. So maybe the guy really is dead.
A couple of implications come out of this, I think. One is that, gowrsh Mickey, here’s another high-ranking jihadi enemy of the US living in supposed US ally Pakistan. Now maybe Omar didn’t cross the border until he got sick, or maybe Pakistani authorities had no idea he was there. Maybe I’m really Donald Trump and the big orange buffoon is just an actor I hired to take all the public heat for me. A more serious implication is that Omar’s death, if it has triggered a power struggle/splintering within the Taliban, is going to make it much harder for the Afghan government to negotiate an end to the Taliban insurgency. How can you talk with the Taliban if the Taliban can’t decide for themselves who gets to speak for them (or whether they should be speaking at all)?
The last implication is that, peace talks aside, Omar’s death likely affects the Taliban insurgency in no way (the announcement of his death might trigger a succession fight, but Omar’s loss itself probably won’t be that big a deal). I mean, if the guy has really been dead for two years, did anybody notice his absence? It doesn’t appear that way. Omar long ago stopped being an operational leader for the Taliban and became a reclusive inspirational figure instead. That’s a role he can still, theoretically, fill in death.
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