Officials in Kabul say that Afghan fighters, backed by U.S. forces, have taken up positions around a village where Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar is believed to have taken refuge. There are reports that U.S. forces are making house-to-house searches for him.
Meanwhile, a senior Afghan official said yesterday he believed Omar had been captured, and Australia’s ABC televisionsaid today it had heard the same from a senior official of the Northern Alliance.
The Pentagon said it had no knowledge of these reports.
The issue of the fate of Mullah Mohammed Omar is one of the main challenges facing the new interim leader ofAfghanistan Hamid Karzai. Karzai himself once worked closely with the Taliban and his suggestion several weeks agothat Omar be granted amnesty enraged the Bush administration. So too did his call for an end to the bombing.Following pressure from Washington-some would say he was given his marching orders-Karzai reversed both positions.Today we are going to take a close look at the new leader of Afghanistan.
- Ahmed Rashid, author of the book ??Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia.