Mullah Omar has spoken: What is he implying?
For the Taliban which is battling a host of splits, the message from its supreme one eyed commander comes as a blessing in disguise. An annual message on the eve of Eid termed the peace talks as legitimate, thus ending months of speculation whether he was dead or alive. The leader who has not been in public domain since 2001 was rumoured to be dead. However his statements about the peace talks puts and end to this speculation.
What Mullah Omar means to the Taliban?
The Taliban is undergoing troubled times in Afghanistan. It may take a week to count the number of splits the outfit has undergone. More importantly it has been losing very heavily to the al-Khorasan which is the Afghanistan form of the ISIS. There was no word on Mullah Omar for very long. Indian intelligence agencies always maintained that Mullah Omar was very much alive, but also raised doubts about his capabilities due to his age. His statements ahead of Eid terming the talks as legitimate aims at ending the confusion within the Taliban.
Moreover it also would give a ray of hope for the fading hopes of its fighters who have been waging a battle without the leadership of a charismatic leader. Mullah Omar for the Taliban is what Osama Bin Laden was to the al-Qaeda and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is to the ISIS.
The Taliban peace talks:
Talks have been taking place between Afghanistan and the Taliban. While it has been hailed by many as a breakthrough, there are many who have expressed their voice of dissent. The members of the Afghan High Peace Council have been holding talks with the Taliban at Murree in Pakistan in a bid to put an end to the fight in Afghanistan. While the US, China and Islamabad have termed these talks as a major break-through, voices of dissent came from within the Taliban.
There is a faction within the Taliban who have set up an office in Qatar and say that only they are entitled to carry out peace talks. They have rejected the talks being undertaken by the Taliban at Murree in Paksitan and even questioned those involved in it. Experts say that these voices of dissent came about as there was no official word from Mullah Omar. He has remained quiet and this has led to dissent. However with him now terming the talks at Murree as legitimate it is likely to put an end to the dissent within the Taliban.
Unified Taliban is a stronger Taliban:
A unified Taliban is never a good sign for India. The Taliban if it manages to install a government or even be part of it would prove to be problematic for India. The Taliban is extremely grateful to Pakistan for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons for gratitude is that the ISI played a major role in keeping Mullah Omar safe all these years. Several persons in the Indian intelligence and other agencies have maintained that the ISI knows where Mullah Omar is. Carlotta Gall, author of book, The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan also pointed out during her investigation that the ISI knows where Mullah Omar is while also adding that many had dreamt of a Taliban flag flying at Afghanistan again. In the Indian context a split up Taliban would mean that the group is weak. It also indicated that the various factions that had split from the Taliban had blamed Pakistan directly for this mess. However if these groups unite then the situation could get problematic.
Taliban was desperate to showcase Mullah Omar:
In a desperate bid to tell the world that Mullah Omar was alive, the Taliban had recently published a 5,000 word biography. The Taliban goes on to write that Mullah Omar is a man of courage who never loses his temper. He does not have a home or a bank account. He has a special sense of humour and treats everyone as equal. He has no superiority complex and treats all as equals, the Taliban also writes. The Taliban said that he is being tracked every single day and that is why he is not out in the open. Despite being tracked every single day, he never fails to perform his duties. All the tracking has not changed his daily routine and he follows and inspects Jihadi activities against the infidel foreign invaders the Taliban says while also adding that his favourite weapon is the RPG-7.