One Eyed Jack: Mullah Omar

Mullah Omar

Stupid as Sh–.  He should have given up Bin Laden and then we would have left him alone -how stupid is that. 

Mullah Omar was the secretive leader of the Taliban, the Islamic puritan militia that nearly conquered Afghanistan. An Islamic studies teacher from a poor rural area near Kandahar, he was propelled to leadership by accident and was simply not equipped to make a success of it. His movement was savage, ignorant, and chose its friends unwisely, but Omar was not a terrorist.

By 1992, The second Time I was there, 20 years of civil war had replaced many of the old Khan families with warlords who abused the peasantry. When Mullah Omar heard about one of these cases, a local warlord who had kidnapped children for sex, he was moved to action. He gathered a troop of old mujahideen buddies and Islamic students –  these were from the Madrasses in Pakistan – , attacked the warlord’s compound, freed the children, and hanged the warlord up high for all to see –  this was done on a tank turret when I was there. This kind of celebratory lynching would become a Taliban signature.

The Pakistani intelligence service decided to back the new militia because they had integrity and popular support. Saudi money and pickup trucks, weapons from Pakistan, and thousands of fanatic teenage students from Islamic schools fueled a clumsy and high-casualty conquest of 90% of Afghanistan. The Taliban overcame powerful militias and famous commanders. By 2001, they held all four major cities and only the unconquerable Masud in his Panjishir fortress held them off. However, Omar almost got through on the final push.

On the edge of victory, Omar’s ignorance betrayed him. He enacted foolish laws based on the primitive Pashtun tribal code. No kites, no music, all men must have bushy beards, no photos or drawings of people, and no sorcery. Worldwide, even social conservatives were horrified by punitive laws that made prisoners out of Afghan women. He had the ex-president dragged out of the UN compound in Kabul, his body mutilated, shot, and hung in the street. He made war on the Hazara and murdered Iranian diplomats because they were the wrong kind of Muslims. His men sacked Mazar-e-Sharif – this is Datsum’s playground, previously unscathed by the war.

Mullah Omar now hides amongst his people, depressed and struggling to support four wives