The Death of Taliban’s Leader and the future of Peaceful Talks

A few days ago, Pakistani media reported the death of Mullah Muhammad Omar and then the international news agencies publish the story. Meanwhile some of Afghan authorities have accepted that Mullah Muhammad Omar had died two years ago in one of Karachi’s hospital.

After this announcement, Pakistani media commented on the topic, and claimed that talks on appointing successor of Mullah Mohammad Omar among the Taliban have been started; however, Mawlawi Yaaqoub son of Mullah Mohammad Omar is among the options, also.

The Taliban later also confirmed the death of Mullah Omar by issuing a statement; the question is, whether Mullah Muhammad Omar had died two years ago? If it is the case, then why it had happened in such a serious time when the peaceful talks between Afghan government and Taliban is being facilitated by Pakistan?

 The Death of Mullah Mohammad Omar

For several times in the past, the media had raised some questions about the life and freedom of Taliban’s supreme leader. In some cases, it was even told that Mullah Mohammad Omar is being kept as a hostage in a Pakistani prison; however, rumors on the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar were also being heard from time to time.

On Wednesday, July 29th, an afghan presidential statement said that “based on credible information” Mullah Mohammad Omar had died in April, 2013, in Pakistan. An Afghan authority has told the media that the information on the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar was received by the Afghan government from Pakistani officials.

On Wednesday, July 29th, the White House called the reports on the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar as “credible”.

However, Taliban have officially confirmed the death of its leader in a statement later on Thursday, and without mentioning the exact date and time of the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar, said that he had died as a result of illness he was suffering from some time ago.

 Taliban and the Challenges ahead

The Taliban’s unity and especially their Leading Council would face a lot of challenges ahead. If he had really died two years ago, then from an Islamic perspective it was necessary that the movement should have selected the new leader. Because, according to Sharia (Islamic Law), whenever a leader passes away, his successor should be appointed immediately. Fighting in accordance with orders of a leader who has left the world, the decisions made by his name and especially the condition of his death, are the questions that would challenge Taliban’s leadership.

Contemporary to negotiations in Murree-Islamabad, the Taliban’s Leading Council has issued a statement that surprisingly was not rejecting those, who on behalf of the Taliban, were participating in these negotiations. Considering the soft position of the Taliban, it might be because of disagreements in their ranks or Pakistan’s pressure.

The sources that are closed to Taliban reject the disagreements in their ranks; however, they believe Pakistan’s pressures have been fruitful in changing Taliban’s position. It is told that Pakistan, while it was struggling to make the Taliban to have peace talks with the Afghan government, had put various pressures on the Taliban and, due to these pressures, Taliban’s Leading Council was obligated to publish a statement, which didn’t reject the Islamabad negotiations.

 The Successor of Mullah Mohammad Omar

Immediately after confirming the death of its leader, Taliban have issued a statement regarding the appointment of its new leader. The declaration of the Taliban states: “After his passing away, the leading council of the Islamic Emirate, authentic scholars and venerable people of the country embarked on selecting the new leadership. Members of the leading council of the Islamic Emirate, saints and scholars, all of them discerning and influential people, in the wake of a prolonged discussion, decided in a meeting to appoint the intimate and trusted associate of Mullah Mohammad Umar Mujahid and the former deputy head of the Islamic Emirate, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, as the new leader of the Islamic Emirate.”

“Similarly, after due consultation and approval in this meeting, each one, the former judiciary chief of the Islamic Emirate, religious scholar, Moulavi Haibatullah Akhunzada and the son of the renowned Jihadi and scholarly figure Moulavi Jalauddin Haqqani (may Allah safeguard him), a well-known Jihadi commander Mullah Sirajuddin Haqqani, as the deputy heads of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”, the declaration added.

However, the Taliban stated in their declaration that ”In this meeting of leadership appointment, scholars, saints and dignitaries of the Islamic Emirate pledged their allegiance with Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor as Amir-ul-Momineen in accordance with the principal of listening and obedience. He, as a legal Amir, pledged his commitment to the Sharia Law too”, however earlier it was thought that the new leader may not be successful in retaining the position of Amir-ul-Momineen.

Moreover, Taliban may also want to get the pledges of allegiance from Al-Qaeda, such as Ayman-Al-Zwahiri, and legitimate its authority and prevent its members from joining the ranks of ISIS.


The future of Peaceful Talks

Due to Pakistani pressures, Taliban are in a serious situation, and now when the death reports of Mullah Mohammad Omar have been broadcasted, reinitiating the peace talks is impossible up to an uncertain time period. Hence, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry in its statement has said that the peace talks that were supposed to be started in Islamabad on Friday are being postponed as a result of the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansor is also interested in Peaceful talks, however he does points out the importance of Qatar’s office and he too would be interested in peaceful talks through Qatar’s political office.

Releasing foreign citizens including Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five senior Taliban commanders held at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, releasing of some Turkish citizens, a Kirgiz citizen and a Russian pilot that had been arrested by the Taliban after they had an emergency landing in Logar province; all of them took place as a result of negotiations between the Qatar Office and the representatives of these countries. If the Qatar Office did not have authority, so how could it be possible to have an agreement in Qatar and for the captives to be released in Afghanistan?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *