Profile: Mullah Mohamed Omar

Mullah Omar founded Taliban in 1994 to combat post-war lawlessness in his country.

    Few photographs exist of Mullah Mohamed Omar [GALLO/GETTY]

    Mullah Mohamed Omar came to the fore during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

    He became a commander of the anti-Soviet Mujahideen fighters, and lost his right eye while fighting.

    In 1994 Mullah Omar founded the Taliban movement, made up mainly of students from Islamic religious schools and Afghan refugees in Pakistan. The idea was to combat post-war lawlessness in his country.

    He captured Kabul two years later without a fight, which many Afghans welcomed, believing it would mark an end to the civil war.

    Under Mullah Omar's rule, the Taliban enforced a strict interpretation of Islamic law, including denying women education and work, persecuting homosexuals, and amputating the hands of thieves.

    Following the September 2001 attacks on the US, Washington led a campaign to oust the Taliban regime for sheltering Osama bin Laden, chief of Al Qaeda, and has since announced a $10m bounty on Mullah Omar's head.

    The campaign led to the fall of the Taliban from power and the flight of Mullah Omar into hiding.

    Mullah Omar, who is in late 40s, remains a reclusive figure, and is believed to be hiding in the mountainous areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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