The two-year secrecy shrouding the death of
the Taliban's top leader, Mullah Omar, underscores the lack of cooperation between the United States and the Pakistani Intelligence Service, former director of the NSA and CIA Gen. Michael Hayden tells Newsmax TV.
In an interview Thursday with "Newsmax Prime" host J.D. Hayworth, Hayden said Omar apparently was living in Pakistan "and this was kept secret perhaps with the knowledge of the Pakistani Intelligence Service."
Story continues below video.
Watch Newsmax TV on DirecTV Ch. 349, DISH Ch. 223 and Verizon FiOS Ch. 115. Get Newsmax TV on your cable system — Click Here Now
"They were always a difficult partner, their interest and our interest weren't always the same, so more than our ignorance perhaps, I'm more concerned about what did the Pakistani ISI know and what they did and didn't share with us," Hayden said.
Hayden said the death – and change in leadership – signals neither the end of the Taliban nor of infighting.
"It seems as if this wasn't just kept secret from us," Hayden added. "It was kept secret from most of the Taliban. The individual who's replaced him… Mullah [Akhta Mohammad] Mansour, doesn't nearly have [Omar's] street cred or his theological credentials...."
Hayden added what's "really scary" is that "it appears that the new deputy is Sirajuddin Haqqani, who's got an awful lot of American blood on his hands."
Haqqani is the leader of the powerful Haqqani militant faction.
Mansour will be only the second leader the Taliban have had since Omar, an elusive figure rarely seen in public who founded the ultra-conservative Islamist movement in the 1990s.
The Taliban eventually conquered most of Afghanistan, imposing strict Islamic law before being driven from power in 2001 by a U.S.-led military intervention.
Afghanistan's government said on Wednesday that Omar died more than two years ago in the Pakistani city of Karachi.
Hayden said it's a "given" that the interests of Pakistan and the United States have been – and continue to be – different.
"There are two things that are turning here: one is Pakistan's perception of their interest are different than American interest in South Asia," he said. "Frankly, the Pakistani perception is somewhat wrong, but there's no challenging that their perception in what we view to be our interest....
"Secondly, there's a circle inside that circle, and that's the autonomous, maybe even independent role, of the Pakistani military and Pakistani intelligence within the Pakistani state. Their definition of civilian control is a far distance from ours," he said.
Reuters contributed to this report.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.