Mullah Omar's death was kept a secret by the Taliban for more than two years, according to a biography of the leader's successor Mullah Aktar Mansour, which leaked in July.
The Taliban confirmed that Omar died on April 23, 2013, but says it did not reveal the information on "tactical grounds," according to the BBC News
. The group continued to issue official statements in his name until Afghan intelligence stated in July that he had died in a Pakistani hospital.
Mansour's biography confirmed that there was a conscious effort to keep Omar's death a secret from the world, the BBC News noted.
"Several key members of the supreme leading council of the Islamic Emirate [Taliban] and authentic religious scholars together decided on concealing the tragic news of the passing away of [Mullah Omar] . . . and keep this secret limited to the very few colleagues who were already informed of this incorrigible loss," the biography read.
"One of the main reasons behind this decision was . . . that 2013 was considered the final year of power testing between the mujahedeen and foreign invaders who . . . had announced that at the end of 2014, all military operations by foreign troops would be concluded," it continued.
The Guardian reported that the Mansour's biography
was written to build his support within the Taliban ranks, which has been criticized within the group. In the 4,500-word biography, Mansour is viewed as a long-time jihadist, abandoning his religious studies as a teenager to fight against Soviet Union occupation in the 1980s.
"The naming of Mullah Mansour as head of the Taliban has exposed deep rifts within the group's leadership, however, with the family of Mullah Omar objecting to the choice, sparking an internal power struggle," wrote Foreign Policy.com's Paul McLeary
"Many fighters support Mullah Omar's brother, Mullah Abdul Manan, or his son, Yaqub, as their next leader and have forcefully — and publicly — challenged Mullah Mansour's appointment."
ForeignPolicy.com said the divide among Taliban leaders comes at one of the most crucial times for the organization as they are being squeezed by the Islamic State looking to gain a foothold in Afghanistan and the country's government that is still supported by the United States.
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