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Taliban leader Mullah Mansour dead
Mullah Akhtar Mansour was chosen as the successor to long time Taliban leader Mullah Omar who died some time ago. Mansour was chosen in 2015 and proved to be a hard line leader in the vein of his predecessor Omar.
Mansour has been seen as an obstacle to peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. John Kerry American Secretary of State stated that Mansoor had orchestrated attacks across all of Afghanistan and was a threat to Afghan as well as American and other security forces inside the country of Afghanistan.
A Taliban source in an audio recording confirmed that Mullah Mansour had indeed been killed driving in a vehicle between the Pakistan - Afghanistan border. Barack Obama had ordered the execution of the Taliban chief and apparently several drones took the fight to the turbaned warrior and took him out pronto.
Where this will leave the Taliban as an organisation is unknown right now as I said many hope now that Mansour is no longer in this world negotiations will begin now as Mansoor had put a prohibition on the Taliban whether high ranking officers or rank and file fighters from talking to their enemies.
I guess negotiations depend on the next leader of the Taliban whether he is a moderate who realizes to keep struggling is futile and peace talks are the only way forward or the person chosen is a hard liner. Then again ever since the US/UK and others with the help of the Northern Alliance drove the Taliban from power in the wake of the 9/11 attacks the Afghan governments struggle allied with NATO forces in their struggle against the Taliban has been futile too as 2016 and the Taliban if their annual Spring offensive is anything to go by are a force still to be reckoned with.
It will be interesting now with Mansour dead what proceeds in the Afghan theatre of war.
Update: Taliban have now elected a new leader.
Brief History of Mullah Omar.
The now deceased first leader or Emir of the Taliban and also one time ruler of a large part of Afghanistan had quite a chequered history.
He began his career as far as is known as a fighter against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan in the 80s when the Soviets were propping up the government of a rather left wing persuasion in Kabul. Perhaps not unlike what NATO forces are doing today in the face of a Taliban insurgency that has been going on ever since 2001.
He lost an eye in combat and it seems never attempted to hide his injury with an eye patch or some other covering. He rose through the ranks of the Taliban when it was conquering and delivering a harsh brand of Sharia law in what it saw as a lawless nation and at the time many Afghans were happy to see the Taliban restoring order. It was not until they were in government in Kabul that people realized just how brutal and hardline the Taliban were and still are.
Mullah Omar rose to become the Emir of Afghanistan or leader of the regime and it was at this time that Omar became friends with another now infamous person who had fought the Soviets in the 80's one Osama Bin Laden and his group Al - Qaeda.
Omar was rarely seen and was a very reclusive figure preferring to live in almost obscurity in Kandahar where Bin Laden built a house for him. When the twin tower attacks happened in 2001 the West wanted the Taliban regime to hand over Bin Laden but it refused so a Western led invasion of Afghanistan began with the Taliban's enemies the Northern Alliance and NATO forces in co - operation to drive the Taliban regime from power and hopefully capture Bin Laden and possibly Mullah Omar too.
This never occurred however and Omar went into exile possibly in the badlands between Pakistan and Afghanistan or even into Pakistan itself where Bin Laden was hiding or apparently being harboured courtesy of the Pakistan government in Abotabad when he was killed by American forces.
Very few photos or images of Omar are in the public domain and he was always reclusive when ruling Afghanistan as has already been highlighted and when the Taliban fell from power he must have been the most hunted man on the planet second to Osama himself.
Years went by and both Bin Laden and Omar vanished off the radar screen the difference was Bin Laden did pop up on video from time to time where as Omar never did. Whether Pakistan knew where he was is open to debate but many a pundit or even government or military employee would not be surprised if Pakistan had harboured him.
It seems he had died in the intervening years from his fall from power and how much influence he had on the Taliban insurgency against the NATO forces and Afghan government is hard to say.
Now with his replacement dead too it will be interesting to see what happens with the Taliban movement.