KABUL, Afghanistan – Fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar (search) is facing "serious disagreements" with his commanders because of the rebel group's failure to disrupt Afghanistan's (search) presidential election this month, the U.S. military said Wednesday.
Spokesman Maj. Scott Nelson said this information was based on intelligence reports from Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, but conceded he did not know where the one-eyed leader of the hardline Islamic militia was hiding.
Nelson claimed that there was "significant demoralization" among the Taliban (search) and frustration over Omar's "lack of effectiveness" after Afghanistan's first democratic vote on Oct. 9 passed off largely peacefully.
"There's been serious disagreements between Mullah Omar and some of his lower commanders on the strategy for the follow-up after the election," Nelson told a news conference in the Afghan capital.
Omar has been at large since the ouster of the Taliban regime by U.S.-led forces in late 2001. Pressed on whether the rebel leader was in Afghanistan or Pakistan, Nelson said, "I don't know exactly where he's located at."
But he said, "We still see indications the man (Omar) is involved in planning Taliban operations in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan."
The U.S. military, which has 18,000 forces hunting al-Qaida and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, claimed in August there was a fissure developing in the Taliban movement and that it was starting to collapse.
That hasn't been independently confirmed. At the time, a purported Taliban spokesman said the breakaway faction was called Jaish-e-Muslimeen, or Muslim Army and was an insignificant group numbering 10-15 people.