Taliban's Omar reasserts control in Afghanistan: WSJ

Iran Materials 23 June 2009 06:08 (UTC +04:00)

Reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar reasserts direct control over operations in Afghanistan ahead of an influx of 21,000 US troops to the war-ravaged country, Press TV reported.

Citing unnamed US officials and insurgents in Afghanistan, the Wall Street Journal said that Omar had ordered a spate of suicide bombings in the troubled southern and eastern Afghanistan since the beginning of the year.

The paper said that a spate of suicide strikes against high-value targets like Ahmed Wali Karzai -- President Hamid Karzai's brother -- had been carried out on instructions directly from Obama.
Karzai survived a gun and rocket attack on his motorcade in eastern Afghanistan on May 18.

One target was Sayed Ahmad, a moderate cleric, who was gunned down outside his home in Kandahar in April. The assassination was reportedly carried out on orders from one of Omar's lieutenants.

Moreover, dozens of suicide bombers have struck targets in the provincial capital of Khost in the volatile eastern part of Afghanistan. US officials believe that the attacks were ordered by the insurgents' leader.

The change in Taliban's strategy comes while the US President Barack Obama has ordered the deployment of an extra 21,000 troops in the country to turn around the deteriorating situation.

Omar was the leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan and was its de facto head of state from 1996 to 2001, when the militant group was in control of the country. His rule was recognized only by three states, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.