War on Terror: Afghan Defiance - Taliban No2 Mullah Mohammed Omar
Byline: ANTON ANTONOWICZ in Islamabad
THE Taliban's hatred of photography means their one-eyed Supreme Leader still remains a mystery even to his own troops and followers.
But here on the left in a rare shot is Mullah Mohammed Omar, who has shaped the regime as the most secretive political movement in the world.
He is also head of the world's most physically disabled leadership. Like Omar, his Justice Minister, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, is one-eyed. He has also lost his leg below the knee.
Such wounds are testimony to 20 years of war, which killed 1.5million and devastated the country.
Yesterday, Taliban followers heard Omar for what may have been the first time on the movement's Radio Shariat. His message was clear.
"Leave the Afghans, Muslims and Arab countries alone," he warned America, "then you will be safe. If not, you will not be safe for all your life."
Normally, Omar's statements are read out by a presenter. Normally, everything is done in his name by an appointee.
That he chose to speak with his own voice may be a measure of the pressure under which the Taliban now finds itself. And this, for him, was a rallying cry to his own as much as a threat to his enemies.
It was, in any case, a departure from the normal Taliban way of doing business. …