The Afghan Taliban released an adulatory biography of Mullah Mohammd Omar that states he is “still the leader in the present hierarchy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” In addition to pumping up Omar, the Taliban outlined its current organizational structure in the release.
The glowing biography of Mullah Omar was published in English late yesterday on the Taliban’s official website, Voice of Jihad. The jihadist group released the statement to commemorate the 19th anniversary of his appointment as the leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
“Nearly two decades ago on this same faithful day, one thousand and five hundred scholars, dignitaries and Jihadi leaders of Afghanistan approved Mullah Mohammad Umar ‘Mujahid’ as the leader of the Islamic Emirate, gave an oath of allegiance to him and conferred the title of ‘Amir-ul-Momineen’ on him i.e. leader of the pious believers,” the opening paragraph states.
The hagiography includes details on his birth and childhood, his family and personal life, his “Jihadi struggles” against the Soviet Union, the fight against lawlessness after the Soviet withdrawal and the establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, his “charismatic personality,” and his leadership.
A large portion of the biography focuses on his leadership during resistance against the Soviet invasion. He fought in Uruzgan, then led Harakat-i-Inqilab-i-Islami (Islamic Revolutionary Movement) forces in Maiwand, Zhari, Panjwai, and Dand districts in Kandahar province from 1983 to 1991. The Taliban depicted Omar as a proficient tactician and an adept fighter.
“His preferred weapon of choice was the ‘RPG-7’, which was simply called ‘Rocket’ among the local Mujahidin, as he was proficient and an expert in using this weapon,” the release states. The group claimed he destroyed countless tanks.
According to the Taliban, he “was wounded four times in confrontational Jihadi operations against the Russians and in one of these operations, he lost his right eye.”
The Taliban also portrayed Omar as an exemplary individual and leader.
“Similarly he is used to facing hardships, sufferings and ups and downs of life. Whatever the magnitude and intensity of the tragedy or trouble might be, he remains tranquil and does not lose either temper or courage. During varying conditions of jubilation and jeopardy, triumph and failure, he remains serene and self-controlled… Gravity of manner, dignity, modesty, reverence, reciprocal respect, sympathy, mercy and sincerity are his natural traits,” the biography claims.
The Taliban did not mention that Omar sheltered Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and a host of terrorist groups, or that its religious police routinely conducted public executions of women when it openly ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. Nor did the Taliban mention that its command is based in Pakistan and supported by that government’s military and Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate.
In addition to lauding Omar, the Taliban sought to dispel rumors that have cropped up over the years that its emir has been arrested, killed, or died of natural causes.
“Mullah Mohammad Umar ‘Mujahid’ is still the leader in the present hierarchy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” according the the release.
Additionally, Omar has a “deputy, the leading council [known as the Quetta Shura], judiciary, nine executive commissions and three other administration organs” that “are active under his leadership which form the warp and woof of the present setup of the Islamic Emirate.” The Taliban did not name Omar’s deputy or the leaders of its branches.
Omar’s deputy serves as Omar’s operational chief, according to the Taliban statement.
“The deputy of the Islamic Emirate, besides inspecting and assessing all the subordinate organs, conveys their working reports to the ‘Ameer-ul-Momineen’ and communicates the orders and decrees of the leader to all the concerned organs and authorities,” the Taliban said.
The Quetta Shura reports to the deputy. It “consists of twenty members who are appointed by the leadership and convene their meetings under the deputy of the Islamic Emirate. This council discusses and makes decisions about all political, military, social and other critical issues.”
The “Judiciary,” which serves an important role in meting out the Taliban’s harsh form of Islamic justice,”has a separate and wide setup which comprises of primary courts, courts of appellation and court of cassation which are busy in discharging their own responsibilities.”
The Taliban listed its nine commissions as: Military; Education and Training; Political Affairs; Cultural; Economic; Health; Invitation, Guidance and Amalgamation; Prisoners’ Affairs, and NGOs [Non-Government Organizations]. Three additional “organs” are also named: Prevention of Civilian Casualties; Martyrs and Disabled People; and Collecting and Organizing Special Revenues.
The military commission is identified as the “largest” and most important. It “consists of nine sub-circles” and is “responsible for appointing governors or military in-charges for all 34 provinces of Afghanistan, military in-charges of all districts, setting up sub-commissions which are subsequently responsible for all military and civil affairs of their respective provinces and districts.”
The Taliban claimed that under Mullah Omar’s command, the group now “controls a major part of Afghanistan.”
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