Many Islamist radicals and their supporters, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan are recovering from the shock of Mullah Omar’s death and struggling to appoint a new narrative when confronted with difficult questions by opponents.
Following are the questions they are facing after Mullah Omar death, from opponents.
Why Omar’s death was kept a secret?
Was he merely a symbolic figure, held hostage by some powerful Taliban figures close to Pakistan’s security establishment?
Is this the beginning of the decline of the Afghan Taliban?
As questions resonate in jihadi circles, the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Al Qaeda remained largely silent.
Many of the otherwise accessible TTP commanders have not been available on their mobile phones or through email. However, they are resolute that Omar’s death is not going to have a major impact on their overall movement.
TTP’s central spokesman Mohammad Khurasani said, “There is no question of change of direction. We pray for Mullah Omar but people need to understand that we are not into personality cults. People die but not our ideology.”
In online forums, some Taliban supporters have expressed fear that the movement established by Omar may split into factions and some of them may embrace democracy.
But the new Taliban leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor has been quick to dispel such fears with a clear message reiterating Shariah law as authority.
While some in Pakistan have been arguing that Omar’s death is likely to weaken Al Qaeda-Taliban relations, the ground reality suggests otherwise.
One of the newly appointed deputies of Mullah Akhtar Mansoor is Sirajuddin Haqqani, one of the most feared and wanted militants who the US accuses of doing much harm to the US and her allies in Afghanistan.
The latest case involves Taliban providing safe havens in Helmand to Al Qaeda operatives escaping Pakistan’s Zarb-i-Azb military operation in North Waziristan.
Al Qaeda welcomes the gesture with a warning to the “common enemy”.
Many IS supporters have pounced on the news of Mullah Omar’s death to discredit the Taliban and Al Qaeda. According to them, Taliban have committed “treachery” by concealing Omar’s death and issuing statements in his name.
IS supporters online say the Afghan Taliban will be reduced to a nationalist force and eventually fade away.
While on other hand, Al Qaeda and Taliban figures say the dust will eventually settle.