As discussions heat up on the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban and its supporters have started a campaign on Twitter honoring the group's founding leader Mullah Mohammad Omar. One of his speeches as well as his photos are being shown publically for the first time.
Articles and memories about him are also being shared.
The Taliban says the campaign has been launched along with the arrival of the eighth anniversary of Mullah Omar's death, and to accompany a book that has been published about his life.
His death was made public on April 23, 2013. His supporters created a hashtag after his name and published photos from his youth. At the time of his death, Omar was blind in one eye, and the pictures reveal this, although there have been pictures from his youth published in which both of his eyes appear healthy.
Published audio dates back to 1996 when the group had recently taken over Kabul.
There is writing about Omar in English on Twitter. It highlights some facts about Mullah Omar’s life and says “no leader in the 20th century was surrounded by as much secrecy and mystery as Mullah Muhammad Omar.”
“Mullah Omar was the first to condemn 9/11. He denied involvement, demanded proof and an independent court to assess claims on OBL's involvement. But President Bush was intransigent and he launched Operation Jawbreaker in no time,” the post says.
It adds: “Mullah Omar was born around 1959 in Nodeh village near Kandahar to a family of poor, landless peasants who were members of the Hotak tribe, the Ghilzai branch of Pashtuns. His tribal and social status was non-existent.”
According to the Twitter post, “Mullah Omar was wounded four times, once in the right eye which was permanently blinded. He had three wives and five children. With a height of 6'6 along with a beard and a black turban, Omar was chosen as a leader of Afghanistan for his piety and unswerving belief in Islam.”
Other Twitter posts celebrate Mullah Omar's fight against the then USSR and the United States and its allies in Afghanistan.
An article published on the Taliban’s website asks who was Mullah Omar and why did he lead an uprising? It says that he used an RPG as his favorite weapon and his interest in the use of this weapon led to his loss of sight in one of his eyes. Many similar articles can be seen on the Taliban website about Mullah Omar.
But why has this campaign begun?
The Taliban says they have published a 520-page book “Omar-e-Salis” about Mullah Omar. And the official website of the group has given details about the book.
“The article that was published on their website about an Islamic government or Islamic system, the values that they highlighted on the anniversary of their leader--with all these, they want to show that they are a different party,” said Fawzia Koofi, a negotiator of the republic in talks with the Taliban.
“Our hope has been the same since 2001: that they would have used civic acts for their activities,” said Yar Baz Hamidi, an MP from Paktia.
Mullar Omar was born in 1960 in the Khakriz district of Kandahar. He died in 2011 but the news about his death was made public on April 23, 2013, in an incident that disrupted direct talks between the Afghan government and Taliban negotiators in Murree city, Pakistan.