Yesterday, rumors were making the rounds in Tali ban circles that Mullah Omar had died. In fact, sources tell me that he is alive and hiding in the Pakistani city of Quetta. But his recent failures will make it hard to hang on to his increasingly shaky position as leader of the Taliban.
Six months ago, the mullah assured his followers that this summer would bring "evident victory" (Fatah al-Mobin), as promised in the Koran. Yet July is nearly over -- and there are no signs that the Taliban and its allies are about to fulfill Omar's dream.
Indeed, the mullah has not merely failed to win any new territory for more than a year, but he's also been forced to abandon large chunks of it in four provinces. (The closest thing to a gain: Armed smugglers allied to the Taliban have secured a new foothold in the Wakkhan Corridor on the short border with China.)
Friday, July 22, 2011
Amir Taheri is Optimistic About Afghanistan
This is refreshing -- after all the ankle-biting and pessimistic commentary that has been flooding through the media both here and in Europe it is nice to see this.