Cairo: The widely circulated picture of Mullah Omar in which he is without his right eye was not real and was a disguise for security reasons to hide his facial features, a close aide of the late Taliban supremo has claimed.
Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, former foreign minister in the Taliban government in Afghanistan and former director of late Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s office, told Al-Arabiya news channel that the former Taliban supremo died two years ago. He said the news was kept secret so the Taliban movement does not split from within.
Muttawakil provided a photo of Mullah Omar to the channel and claimed that the photo of the late Taliban leader which was previously circulated in which he is without his right eye was not real and was allegedly a disguise by Taliban for security reasons in order to hide his facial features.
The Taliban in July had confirmed the death of Mullah Omar in a statement. The statement did not say when and where he died but said “his health condition deteriorated in the last two weeks”. However, the Afghan government had said Mullah Omar died in April 2013 in Pakistan. Mullah Omar’s death caused a rift within the Taliban ranks over Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s nomination as the group’s supremo.
Senior Taliban leaders have opposed Mullah Mansour’s nomination as the Taliban chief. Earlier this month, a breakaway faction of the Taliban appointed Mullah Rasool as its own leader, in the first formal split in the militant movement.
Mullah Omar had governed Afghanistan with an iron fist from 1996 until his government was overthrown by the US military invasion of October 2001 following his refusal to hand over al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to face justice over the 9/11 attacks. He was so elusive during his last few years he had not been seen in public since fleeing when the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001.