A Dutch Book published by journalist Bette Dam has revealed that Mullah Mohammad Omar “never stepped foot in Pakistan,” and instead chose to hide in his native land Afghanistan. The book also shockingly reveals that Omar lived “just a few miles from a major US base”.
Bette Dam is an independent journalist covering Afghanistan, who lived in Kabul from 2009 to 2014. She is a guest lecturer at Sciences Po in Paris, and is the author of A Man and a Motorcycle: How Hamid Karzai Came to Power. Her second book, Searching for an Enemy, was published in Dutch in February 2019.
The book further exposes the breakdown of US Intelligence along with Mullah Omar’s distrust of Pakistan, resulting from the latter’s siding with USA in the Global War on Terror. “The story that emerges is that the US, and almost everyone else, had it wrong,” claims Bette Dam in the book.
The book was originally published in Dutch language last month and with its extracts published in English by Zomia – a new think tank supported by the New America foundation and Arizona State University.
“He never lived in Pakistan. Instead, he spent the remainder of his life in a pair of small villages in the remote, mountainous province of Zabul,” Dam was told by Abdul Jabbar Omari, Mullah Omar’s bodyguard from the moment the Taliban leader went into hiding until his death in 2013.
Dam further writes:
“After 2001, Mullah Omar never stepped foot in Pakistan, instead opting to hide in his native land— and for eight years, lived just a few miles from a major U.S. Forward Operating Base that housed thousands of soldiers. This finding, corroborated by the Taliban and Afghan officials, suggests a staggering U.S. intelligence failure, and casts even further doubt on America’s claims about the Afghan war. Mullah Omar refused to go to Pakistan because of his deep-seated mistrust of that country, and his involvement in the insurgency was minimal.”
Dam also casts doubts over Pakistan’s sway over the Taliban in Afghanistan. “The Taliban purport to speak as an independent, nationalist Afghan force, but questions remain about their relationship to Pakistan”, writes Dam. Even though the Afghan government and Taliban have not commented on these claims, Amrullah Saleh, former NDS director, refuted these refuted these claims on twitter, suggesting that he had “piles and piles of evidence which showed that Omar lived and died in Pakistan”.
Not only I reject it I see it as an effort to create & build an identify for the Taliban & humanize their foreign backers. I have piles & piles of evidence which shows he lived & died in Pakistan. I am really puzzled how naive WSJ can become or be dismissive of ethics.— Amrullah Saleh (@AmrullahSaleh2) March 10, 2019
The book also details the “Shah Wali Kot Agreement” – between the Taliban and Hamid Karzai – after US invasion in 2001, and immediate hand over of Taliban leadership by Mullah Omar to Mullah Obaidullah. It was agreed that Under Obaidullah, the Taliban were to surrender and retire from the war. However, the US administration, which considered the Afghan Taliban a serious threat, managed to block Karzai’s attempts to reconcile with the Taliban.
Full excerpts of the book can be read here