For years American commanders, government officials and media continued to accuse Pakistan for providing safe haven for Taliban founder and leader Mullah Omar. American officials repeatedly demanded to take action against mullah Omar and other Taliban leaders and commanders hiding inside Pakistan. Pakistan always denied these allegations and accusations.
Now a book “Searching for an Enemy”, written by a Dutch journalist Bette Dam has revealed that Mullah Omar spend his time in hiding near to an American military base in his native Zabul province in Afghanistan. This book has proved that Pakistan’s stance on this issue was based on truth and facts.
Contrary to the claims made by American military commanders and intelligence officials based in Afghanistan, the Dutch journalist provided details of Mullah Omar’s years in Afghanistan in hiding. This book has raised important questions on the accuracy of American intelligence. Taliban founder Mullah Omar lived within walking distance of US bases in Afghanistan for years, according to a new book that highlights embarrassing failures of American intelligence.
Mullah Omar’s Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, and has waged an anti-government insurgency since then. Omar, who delegated effective Taliban leadership after 2001, appears to have acted as more of a spiritual leader, and the militant movement kept his death in 2013 secret for two years.
Mullah Omar lived for years next an operational military base of American military without being noticed until his death in 2013. He kept no contact with family members and used primitive methods of communication with his followers.
Dam spent more than five years researching the book and interviewed Jabbar Omari; Mullah Omar’s bodyguard who hid and protected him after the Taliban regime was overthrown.
According to the book, Omar listened to the BBC’s Pashto-language news broadcasts in the evenings, but even when he learned about the death of al-Qaeda supreme leader Osama Bin Laden rarely commented on developments in the outside world.
Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001 which led to the fall of the Taliban, the US put a $10 million bounty on Omar and he went into hiding in a small compound in the regional capital Qalat, Dam writes. US forces twice almost found him.
At one point, a US patrol approached as Omar and Omari were in the courtyard. Alarmed, the two men ducked behind a wood pile, but the soldiers passed without entering. A second time, US troops even searched the house but did not uncover the concealed entrance to his secret room. It was not clear if the search was the result of a routine patrol or a tip-off.
Mullah Omar decided to move when the US started building Forward Operating Base Lagman in 2004, just a few hundred meters from his hideout.
He later moved to a second building but soon afterwards the Pentagon constructed Forward Operating Base Wolverine, home to 1,000 US troops, and where American and British Special Forces were sometimes based close by.
According to Dutch journalist Dam, Mullah Omar would often only talk to his guard and cook, and used an old Nokia mobile phone, without a mobile phone sim card , to record himself chanting verses from the Quran. He never used mobile phone for communication.
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