Taliban founder Mullah Omar lived within walking distance of US bases in Afghanistan for years, according to a new book that suggests embarrassing failures of American intelligence.
US and Afghan leaders believed the one-eyed, fugitive leader fled to and eventually died in Pakistan, but a new biography says Omar was living just three miles from a major US Forward Operating Base in Zabul province, where he died in 2013.
“Searching for an Enemy”, by Dutch journalist Bette Dam, says the Taliban chief lived as a virtual hermit, refusing visits from his family and filling notebooks with jottings in an imaginary language.
Dam spent more than five years researching the book and interviewed Jabbar Omari, Omar’s bodyguard who hid and protected him after the Taliban regime was overthrown.
The author spent years reporting in Afghanistan and also wrote an earlier book about former Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001 which led to the fall of the Taliban, the US put a $10 million bounty on Omar and he went into hiding in a small compound in the regional capital Qalat, Dam writes.
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