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November 19, 2001
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Mullah Akhtar Usmani named successor to Mullah Omar

Mullah Akhtar Usmani, corps commander of five southern Afghan provinces has been named successor to Taleban spiritual leader Mullah Mohammed Omar in case of the latter's death, the militia's officials have said.

Online news agency reported that Usmani is considered a close companion of Omar.

Usmani hails from the Taleban spiritual capital Kandahar, and had been teaching in the same madrassa (religious school) that Omar used to teach in before the emergence of Taleban in 1994.

"Mullah Omar is still in Kandahar and leading the Taleban forces. But his movement is restricted due to security reasons," a militia official told Online.

"In his absence, Mullah Akhtar Usmani is leading the Taleban forces."

He said Omar named Usmani his successor after consulting the Taleban Shura (council). "The unanimous decision was in Mullah Akhtar's favour," he said.

He said Usmani had not been given any official designation like Mullah Mohammed Rabbani, who had been acting as the country's prime minister.

"He (Usmani) will perform his present duties. He will only lead the Taleban in absence of Mullah Omar", the Taleban official said.

Usmani's appointment has raised the chances that Omar may go underground or leave Kandahar for an unknown destination for some time.

In his message to Afghans last week, Omar vowed that he would not be arrested alive by the US-led forces.

"They cannot arrest me alive. I will prefer to die than surrender," Omar had said.

Indo-Asian News Service

America's War on Terror: The Complete Coverage
The Attack on US Cities: The Complete Coverage

The Terrorism Weblog: Latest Stories from Around the World

External Link:
For further coverage, please visit www.saja.org/roundupsept11.html

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