By Jay Boyd, Fox News Summer College Associate
News from Afghan officials of the death of Mullah Mohammed Omar is a huge coup for those fighting the war on terror.
The man who once called for “the extinction of America” has had a $10 million bounty on his head ever since the 9/11 terror attacks that shook the world. While there is a report from Afghan intelligence that he succumbed to tuberculosis two years ago, we aren’t completely sure as to how the terror kingpin died. Even though Taliban sources are currently denying his death, Afghan officials are confident of it. This is the most definitive statement on his death since reports of his death were merely floated around in 2011.
Mullah Omar, as he was known, was notorious for hiding incredibly well – we haven’t seen him since 2001. The details about his past before the 1980’s are sparse. For example, we can only get his birth year down to a 12-year margin, anywhere from 1950 to 1962.
Omar was a soldier for the Mujahideen during the war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. While fighting in one of the battles, he suffered a shrapnel injury to one of his eyes, leaving him with only one functioning eye. This became the defining physical feature for the man that the west, specifically America, wanted so desperately to find.
After the war against the Soviets, Omar formed the Taliban, which started as a force of roughly 50 individuals. However, it would become a force whose power encapsulated the entire country of Afghanistan. The Taliban, in its infancy, started by capturing the Kandahar province, followed by Herat, and then, in 1996, it captured the Afghan capital of Kabul.
Mullah Omar became the 11th leader of Afghanistan, with his reign lasting for roughly 5 years. He was interviewed after the September 11 attacks, when he was still the leader of Afghanistan, and stated that his desire was for “[America] to fall to the ground”. Needless to say, he quickly became one of the prime targets of the war on terror. This only heightened when his regime was accused of giving shelter to Osama Bin Laden’s forces, who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.
Early on in the war in Afghanistan, western forces bombed his house in Kandahar, but he was not there, and his son and uncle were killed in the attack. He was interviewed once again in 2004, this time by a Pakistani journalist via telephone, and said that the Taliban forces were “hunting Americans like pigs”. That was the last time we definitively heard from him, because all future communication with Omar would be through letters and statements.
In 2014, when America traded 5 senior Afghan prisoners for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Omar reportedly praised their release. Later that year, Omar’s aide, named Abdul Rahman Nika, was killed in an attack by the Afghan army. Nika was responsible for many of the Taliban’s attacks in western Afghanistan, we are told.
The death of Mullah Muhammed Omar is one of, if not the most significant death for the western cause in the war on terror since Osama Bin Laden was killed in a raid in Pakistan in 2011. Whether this death will be trumpeted by the Obama administration to the level of Bin Laden’s remains to be seen.
The death of Omar represents a significant boost in morale for those of us fighting the war on terror, where notable gains and victories are becoming more difficult to come by as we progress.