Srinagar: The Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar who evaded the American net for over a decade lived just a stone’s throw away from a US base in Afghanistan, a book by a Dutch journalist has revealed.
Bette Dam, a Dutch journalist and writer who has reported from Afghanistan since 2006, published a biography on the Taliban leader. The book details the life of Mullah Omar who the US believed headed the Taliban’s offensive against the coalition forces in Afghanistan but in reality was living a life of a fugitive and had virtually handed over control of the Taliban to his deputies way back in 2001. Dam released details of the book to The Guardian.
Dam spoke to the man, Jabbar Omari who acted as Mullah Omar’s personal aide ever since the US-forces toppled the Taliban government in Afghanistan in 2001. He shared details of Omar’s hideout which was located within walking distance of the Afghan governor’s compound and the main US base for the area, forward operating base (FOB) Lagman. Omari told Dam that he created a secret room for the Taliban leader in the residential building of one of the villagers, its entrance a door hidden behind what looked like a high cupboard on the wall. Despite American soldiers conducting a search operation, they failed to find Omar’s hideout.
Omar moved out in 2004 after two close shaves with American soldiers but his new residence too was near FOB Wolverine in Shinkay district. Despite the proximity, Omar remained in the hamlet that was connected to underground channels which provided him with a route to escape in case of being discovered.
Omari said the Taliban head remained in this hideout until his death in 2013 and acted only as a spiritual guide until then. He fell seriously ill in 2013 but refused medical care. He died on April 23 of 2013 but the Taliban fighters were told of their revered leader’s death only in 2015.