New Delhi: Despite reports of death of Taliban chief Mullah Omar, mystery continue to shroud the reclusive Islamic leader who has remained in hiding since 2001.
Here are some facts about the leader:
- Omar was not seen in public and went into hiding after US-led campaign removed his government in Afghanistan from power in 2001.
- He entrusted his foreign minister, Wakil Ahmad Mutawakkil, with the responsibility of contact with the outside world.
- Mullah Omar had backed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, whose organisation had claimed responsibility for September 11 attacks in the US.
- Omar and Laden shared a closed friendship with two speaking daily via satellite phone and even going on fishing trips.
- While Laden was killed in a US commando raid in Pakistan's Abbottabad, one of the most wanted man in the world Omar, managed to dodge numerous security operations against him.
- Afghanistan officials have claimed that he had reportedly died two to three years ago. However, it was dismissed by Taliban which had claimed that their phones were hacked to send the message regarding his death.
- Omar had backed the recent peace talks between Taliban and the Afghanistan government and urged Muslim leaders to continue their fight against foreign troops.
- Only two pictures of the Taliban leader exist which have not been released officially and whose authenticity cannot be established.
- He is described as someone who is over 50 years old, six feet tall, has a black beard, turban and is missing one eye which was damaged while he was fighting Afghanistan's Soviet occupiers in the 1980s.
- One of the major edicts by the Taliban leader includes destruction of the ancient Buddha statues at Bamyan in Afghanistan.