ملا محمد عمر
April 1996 - present
|Supreme Commander of the Taliban|
October 1994 - present
|Head of the Supreme Council of Afghanistan|
27 September 1996 – 13 November 2001
|Prime Minister||Mohammad Rabbani
Abdul Kabir (Acting)
|Preceded by||Burhanuddin Rabbani (President)|
|Succeeded by||Burhanuddin Rabbani (President)|
Kandahar Province, Kingdom of Afghanistan
(in present-day Kandahar Province or Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan)
|Alma mater||Darul Uloom Haqqania|
|Religion||Deobandi Sunni Islam|
|Allegiance|| Mujahideen (1979-1989)
|Years of service||1979-1989
|Battles/wars||Soviet war in Afghanistan
Afghan civil war
War in Afghanistan
Mullah Mohammed Omar Mujahid (Pashto: ملا محمد عمر مجاهد, Mullā Muḥammad ‘Umar Mujáhid; born c. 1960), often simply called Mullah Omar, is the spiritual leader and commander of the Taliban. He was Afghanistan's de facto 11th head of state from 1996 to late 2001, under the official title "Head of the Supreme Council". He held the title Commander of the Faithful of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which was recognized by only three nations: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Mullah Omar has been wanted by the United States Department of State's Rewards for Justice program since October 2001, for sheltering Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda militants in the years prior to the September 11 attacks. Those who were close to him say that, in line with international legal procedure, he requested evidence from the United States regarding bin Laden and his hand in the 9/11 attacks but did not receive any. He is believed to be directing the Taliban insurgency against the United States armed forces-led International Security Assistance Force and the government of Afghanistan.
Despite his political rank and his high status on the Rewards for Justice most wanted list, not much is publicly known about him. Few photos exist of him, none of them official, and a picture used in 2002 by many media outlets has since been established to be someone other than him. The authenticity of the existing images is debated. Apart from the fact that he is missing one eye, accounts of his physical appearance are contradictory: Omar is described as very tall (some say 2 m). Mullah Omar has been described as shy and non-talkative with foreigners.
During his tenure as Emir of Afghanistan, Omar seldom left the city of Kandahar and rarely met with outsiders, instead relying on Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil for the majority of diplomatic necessities.
According to most sources Omar was born sometime between 1959 and 1962 in a village in Kandahar Province, Kingdom of Afghanistan (in present-day Kandahar Province or Uruzgan Province). Some state that he was born in the village of Nodeh near the city of Kandahar. Matinuddin writes that he was born in Nodeh village, Panjwai District, Kandahar Province. Others say Omar was born in a village of the same name in Uruzgan Province. In Omar's entry in the UNSC's Taliban Sanctions List, 'Nodeh village, Deh Rahwod District, Uruzgan Province' is given as a possible birthplace. Other reports say Omar was born in Noori village near Kandahar. 'Noori village, Maiwand District, Kandahar Province' is a second location suggested in Omar's entry in the Sanctions List. Better established than Omar's place of birth is that his childhood home was in Deh Rahwod District, Uruzgan Province, having moved to a village there with his uncle after the death of his father (though some identify the district as Omar's birthplace).
An ethnic Pashtun, he was born in conservative rural Afghanistan to a poor landless family of the Hotak tribe, which is part of the larger Ghilzai branch. According to Hamid Karzai, "Omar's father was a local religious leader, but the family was poor and had absolutely no political links in Kandahar or Kabul. They were essentially lower middle class Afghans and were definitely not members of the elite." His father Mawlawi Ghulam Nabi Akhund died when Omar was young. According to Omar's own words he was three years old when his father died, and thereafter he was raised by his uncles. One of his uncles married Omar's mother, and the family moved to a village in the poor Deh Rawod District, where the uncle was a religious teacher. It is reported that they lived in the village of Dehwanawark close to the town of Deh Rahwod.
Omar fought as a soldier with the anti-soviet Mujahideen under the command of Nek Mohammad and others, but did not fight against the Najibullah regime between 1989 and 1992. It was reported that he was thin, but tall and strongly built, and "a crack marksman who had destroyed many Soviet tanks during the Afghan War."
Omar was wounded four times. Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef claims to have been present when shrapnel destroyed one of his eyes during a battle in Sangsar, Panjwaye District shortly before the 1987 Battle of Arghandab. Other sources place this event in 1986 or in the 1989 Battle of Jalalabad.
Unlike many Afghan mujahideen, Omar speaks Arabic. He was devoted to the lectures of Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, and took a job teaching in a madrassa in Quetta. He later moved to a Mosque in Karachi, where he led prayers, and later met with Osama bin Laden for the first time.
Forming the Taliban
Following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 and the collapse of Najibullah's Soviet-backed regime in 1992, the country fell into chaos as various mujahideen factions fought for control. Mullah Omar returned to Singesar and founded a madrassah. According to one legend, in 1994, he had a dream in which a woman told him: "We need your help; you must rise. You must end the chaos. Allah will help you." Mullah Omar started his movement with less than 50 armed madrassah students, known simply as the Taliban (Students). His recruits came from sand madrassahs in Afghanistan and from the Afghan refugee camps across the border in Pakistan. They fought against the rampant corruption that had emerged in the civil war period and were initially welcomed by Afghans weary of warlord rule.
The practice of Bacha bazi, involving the rape of young adolescents by warlords was one of the key factors in Mullah Omar mobilizing the Taliban. Reportedly, in early 1994, Omar led 30 men armed with 16 rifles to free youths who had been kidnapped and raped by a warlord, hanging him from a tank gun barrel. The youths were two young girls. Another instance arose when in 1994, a few months before the Taliban took control of Kandahar, two militia commanders confronted each other over a young boy whom they both wanted to sodomize. In the ensuing fight, Omar’s group executed both men, freed the boy and appeals began flooding in for Omar to help in other disputes. His movement gained momentum through the year, and he quickly gathered recruits from Islamic schools. By November 1994, Mullah Omar's movement managed to capture the whole of the Kandahar Province and then captured Herat in September 1995.
Leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
In April 1996, supporters of Mullah Omar bestowed on him the title Amir al-Mu'minin (أمير المؤمنين, "Commander of the Faithful"), after he donned a cloak alleged to be that of Muhammad which was locked in a series of chests, held inside the Mosque of the Cloak of the Prophet Mohammed in the city of Kandahar. Legend decreed that whoever could retrieve the cloak from the chest would be the great Leader of the Muslims, or "Amir al-Mu'minin".
In September 1996, Kabul fell to Mullah Omar and his followers. The civil war continued in the northeast corner of the country, near Tajikistan. The nation was named the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in October 1997 and was recognized by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. A "reclusive, pious and frugal" leader, Omar visited Kabul twice between 1996 to 2001. Omar stated: "All Taliban are moderate. There are two things: extremism ["ifraat", or doing something to excess] and conservatism ["tafreet", or doing something insufficiently]. So in that sense, we are all moderates – taking the middle path.
In a BBC's Pashto interview after the September 11 attacks in 2001, he told that "You (the BBC) and American puppet radios have created concern. But the current situation in Afghanistan is related to a bigger cause – that is the destruction of America...This is not a matter of weapons. We are hopeful for God's help. The real matter is the extinction of America. And, God willing, it [America] will fall to the ground..."
|“||I am considering two promises. One is the promise of Allah, the other of Bush. The promise of Allah is that my land is vast...the promise of Bush is that there is no place on Earth where I can hide that he won't find me. We shall see which promise is fulfilled.||”|
—Mullah Omar, 2001
After the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom began in early October 2001, Omar went into hiding and is still at large. He is thought to be in the Pashtun tribal region of Afghanistan or Pakistan. The United States is offering a reward of US$10 million for information leading to his capture. In November 2001, he ordered Taliban troops to abandon Kabul and take to the mountains, noting that "defending the cities with front lines that can be targeted from the air will cause us terrible loss".
Claiming that the Americans had circulated "propaganda" that Mullah Omar had gone into hiding, Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil stated that he would like to "propose that prime minister Blair and president Bush take Kalashnikovs and come to a specified place where Omar will also appear to see who will run and who not". He stated that Omar was merely changing locations due to security reasons.
In the opening weeks of October 2001, Omar's house in Kandahar was bombed, killing his stepfather and his 10-year-old son.
Mullah Omar continues to have the allegiance of prominent pro-Taliban military leaders in the region, including Jalaluddin Haqqani. The former foe Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's faction has also reportedly allied with Omar and the Taliban. In April 2004, Omar was interviewed via phone by Pakistani journalist Mohammad Shehzad. During the interview, Omar claimed that Osama Bin Laden was alive and well, and that his last contact with Bin Laden was months before the interview. Omar declared that the Taliban were "hunting Americans like pigs."
Numerous statements have been released identified as coming from Omar. In June 2006 a statement regarding the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq was released hailing al-Zarqawi as a martyr and claimed that the resistance movements in Afghanistan and Iraq "will not be weakened". Then in December 2006 Omar reportedly issued a statement expressing confidence that foreign forces will be driven out of Afghanistan.
In January 2007, it was reported that Omar made his "first exchange with a journalist since going into hiding" in 2001 with Muhammad Hanif via email and courier. In it he promised "more Afghan War," and said the over one hundred suicide bomb attacks in Afghanistan in the last year had been carried out by bombers acting on religious orders from the Taliban – “the mujahedeen do not take any action without a fatwa.” In April 2007, Omar issued another statement through an intermediary encouraging more suicide attacks.
In November 2009, The Washington Times claimed that Omar, assisted by the ISI, had moved to Karachi in October. In January 2010, Brigadier Amir Sultan Tarar, a retired officer with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency who previously trained Omar, said that he was ready to break with his al-Qaida allies in order to make peace in Afghanistan: "The moment he gets control the first target will be the al-Qaida people."
In January 2011, The Washington Post, citing a report from the Eclipse Group, a privately operated intelligence network that may be contracted by the CIA, stated that Omar had suffered a heart attack on 7 January 2011. According to the report, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency rushed Omar to a hospital near Karachi where he was operated on, treated, and then released several days later. Pakistan's ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, stated that the report "had no basis whatsoever".
On 23 May 2011, TOLO News in Afghanistan quoted unnamed sources saying Omar had been killed by ISI two days earlier. These reports remain unconfirmed. A spokesman for the militant group said shortly after the news came out. "Reports regarding the killing of Amir-ul-Moemineen (Omar) are false. He is safe and sound and is not in Pakistan but Afghanistan." On 20 July 2011, phone text messages from accounts used by Taliban spokesmen Zabihullah Mujahid and Qari Mohammad Yousuf announced Omar's death. Mujahid and Yousuf, however, quickly denied sending the messages, claimed that their mobile phones, websites, and e-mail accounts had been hacked, and they swore revenge on the telephone network providers.
On 31 May 2014, in return for American prisoner of war Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, five senior Afghan detainees were released from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. Omar reportedly hailed their release.
- Deobandi Islam: The Religion of the Taliban U. S. Navy Chaplain Corps, 15 October 2001
- http://news.163.com/special/omardead/#p=74OBHJFO00AO0001"From 1979 to 1989, participated in the war against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan"
- Goodson (2001) p. 107
- "Wanted Information leading to the location of Mullah Omar Up to $10 Million Reward". Rewards for Justice Program, U.S. Department of State.
- Abdul Salam Zaeef – "My life with the Taliban"
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- Indian Defence Review. Volume 10: 33. 1995. "The top leader is believed to be Maulvi Mohammad Umar Amir, who was born in Nodeh (village) in Kandhar, and is now settled in Singesar. He was wounded four times in the battles against the Soviets and his right eye is permanently damaged. He took part in the "Jehad" under the late Hizb-e-Islami Khalis Commander Nek Mohammad."
- Yunas, S. Fida (1997). Afghanistan: Political Parties, Groups, Movements and Mujahideen Alliances and Governments 1879-1997. Vol. 2. p. 876. "Amir of the Taliban and commander of its Mohammadi Lashkar. Born in Nodeh village in Kandhar, now lives in Singesar village in Kuashke Nakhud area of Kandahar's Maiwand district. His family once shifted to Tarinkot, capital of Uruzgan province, before settling in Singesar."
- Matinuddin, Kamal (1999). The Taliban Phenomenon: Afghanistan 1994-1997. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 222. ISBN 9780195792744.
- United Nations Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1988 (2011). "The List of individuals and entities established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1988 (2011)"
- Mullah ((Omar)) and the Council of Ministers (Intelligence Information Report). U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. 7 November 2001. http://www.dia.mil/Portals/27/Documents/FOIA/5%20USC%20%C2%A7%20552(A)(2)(D)%20Records/Afghanistan/Taliban_Mullah_Omar_and_the_Council_of_Ministers_CLEAR.pdf.
- "Strengthening the humanity and dignity of people in crisis through knowledge and practice". Feinstein Research Center. August 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012. "Politically and tribally, Uruzgan is part of “greater Kandahar,” and the origin of many of the Taliban’s original leaders, including Mullah Mohammad Omar, who was born in Deh Rawood District."
- Afghanistan: The Enigmatic Mullah Omar and Taliban Decision-Making. WikiLeaks. 28 March 1997. WikiLeaks cable:97ISLAMABAD2533_a.
- Mohammed Omar. "من وراء طالبان / Man warā’ Ṭālibān?" [Who is behind the Taliban?]. aljazeera.net (in Arabic). (Interview). Audio link (in Pashto with Arabic voiceover).
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- Wright, Looming Tower, (2006), p. 226
- Dexter Filkins, The Forever War (New York: Vintage Books/Random House, 2009; orig. ed. 2008), p. 30.
- "one of the original provocations for the Taliban's rise to power in the early 1990s was their outrage over pedophilia."
- National Geographic (2007). Inside The Taliban [Inside The Taliban] (Documentary). Afghanistan: National Geographic http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/episodes/inside-the-taliban/.
- "the rape of young boys by warlords was one of the key factors in Mullah Omar mobilising the Taleban.""In the summer of 1994, a few months before the Taleban took control of the city, two commanders confronted each other over a young boy whom they both wanted to sodomise. In the ensuing fight, Omar’s group freed the boy and appeals began flooding in for Omar to help in other disputes."
- Messages by Al-Qaeda Operatives in Afghanistan to the Peoples of the West "... alongside the Emir of the Believers..." September 2005
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- "BBC News - Bowe Bergdahl: Chuck Hagel praises release special forces". Bbc.co.uk. 2014-06-01. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
- Goodson, Larry P. (2001). Afghanistan's Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics and the Rise of the Taliban. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-98111-3. OCLC 44634408.
- Rashid, Ahmad (2001). Taliban: The Story of the Afghan Warlords. London: Pan Books. ISBN 0-330-49221-7.
- Weber, Olivier (2001). Le faucon afghan: un voyage au royaume des talibans (in French). Paris: Robert Laffont. ISBN 2221093135. OCLC 319750715.
- Coll, Steve (2004). Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. Penguin Press. ISBN 1-59420-007-6.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Mohammed Omar|
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as President of Afghanistan
|Head of the Supreme Council of Afghanistan
as President of Afghanistan