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Taliban Supreme Leader names successor

Taliban Supreme Leader names successor

Publication: Pakistan Observer (via Out There News/Afghan Islamic Press)
Date: November 20, 2001
URL: http://www.megastories.com/attack/aip/01nov20/observer011120.shtml

The Corps Commander of five southern Afghan provinces, Mullah Akhtar Usmani, has been named the successor of Taliban's Supreme Leader Mullah Muhammad Omar in case of latters death, Taliban officials said.

Mullah Akhtar Usmani is considered the closest companion of Mullah Omar after the late Mullah Mohammed Rabbani, who died of cancer in Rawalpindi a few months ago.

Mullah Akhtar belongs to Kandahar and had taught in the same religious school where Mullah Omar used to work before the emergence of the Taliban movement in 1994. Mullah Omar is still in Kandahar and leading Taliban forces. But his movement is restricted due to security reasons. In his absence, Mullah Akhtar Usmani is leading the Taliban forces, a Taliban official said requesting anonymity.

He said that Mullah Omar named Mullah Akhtar after consulting the Taliban Shura that unanimously decided in his favour, he said.

To a question, the official said that Mulla Akhtar has not been given any official designation as yet. He will perform his present duties. However, he will lead Taliban in the absence of Mulla Omar, the official said.

The appointment of Mullah Akhtar raises the chances of Mullah Omar going underground or leaving Kandahar to some unknown destination.

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