Afghanistan: It's what's for dinner. (side dishes include Iran and Pakistan)
The Daily Beast ran a story today about the confusion and angst that some Taliban commanders are experiencing because of the lack of attention they have received from reclusive commander Mullah Omar.
Some have been using his perceived absence to promote themselves, others are wilting at the lack of attention they are getting and are concerned that it could signal a loss of power.
Aside from making these supposedly rough and tough Taliban commanders sound like a gaggle of teenage girls (“He never calls anymore….he doesnt even write” “If I could just hear his voice, I’d feel so much better”), the article never really gives the so what? The why should we care if Mullah Omar has taken his reclusiveness to the next step and is now living in total isolation? or perhaps he’s died and it was covered up. But either way, Daily Beast writer Ron Moreau never really explains what this might mean except the simplistic ‘factionalism’.
Yes, the lack of a clear leader would mean more factionalism for the Taliban, but it’s a foolish notion to think that the Taliban operates as a single monolithic entity at present. There is Mullah Omar’s Taliban, the Haqqani Network, the Pakistani Taliban and countless other regional commanders that have a propensity of taking decisions without getting the rubber stamp from their higher ups.
Also, if Mullah Omar has been as absentee as it appears, does it really change the way the Taliban functions? It’s unlikely to change their organizational goals, their religious fervor, or their fighting spirit whether Omar is in command or not.
So, while some commanders might be feeling lost without Omar there to guide them, the Taliban will likely continuing to function as normal.
While unlikely, count me as one hoping Mullah Omar will start passing out notes to his commanders reading ‘I only have eye for you’.