Taliban’s Mullah Omar “lived close to US bases” in Afghanistan, book claims

Mullah Omar led the Taliban for 20 years

The Taliban’s most wanted leader Mullah Mohammed Omar lived within walking distance of U.S. military bases in Afghanistan, a new book has claimed.

Bette Dam’s The Secret Life of Mullah Omar claims the fugitive leader never went into hiding in Pakistan as widely assumed by the US.

The book says he was hiding only three miles from a major US Forward Operating Base in his home province of Zabul.

Dutch journalist Ms Dam spent five years interviewing Taliban members for her book.

She managed to speak to Jabbar Omari, the man who later became Mullah Omar’s bodyguard when he went into hiding after removal of the Taliban in 2001.

Mr Omari took the Taliban leader into hiding until he passed away from illness in 2013.

Not too long after the Taliban fell, Mullah Omar – who had a $10m (£7.7m) US bounty on his head after the 9/11 attacks – hid in secret rooms in a house close to a military base.

The book says US soldiers even searched one of the accommodations on one occasion, but were unable to find his hiding place.

Mullah Omar later moved to another building just three miles from another US base, which hosted nearly 1,000 military personnel.

Ms Dam was also told that the Taliban leader received news from the BBC’s Pashto language service.

Despite claims by the Taliban, Mullah Omar was could not lead the group from his hiding locations.

But he is said to have authorised a Taliban head office in Qatar, where US officials are talking with Taliban leaders in an attempt to end the war in Afghanistan.

Ms Dam’s book was published in Dutch in February, and will be available in English next month.

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