Jan 23, 2007

Mullah Omar's Possible Location

After a flurry of recent statements like the Taliban leader Mullah Omar is in Pakistan, that Pakistan supports the jihad to maintain its influence over Afghanistan and after U.S. National Intelligence Director John Negroponte recently told a Senate committee hearing that Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders are seeking refuge in Pakistan's frontier areas, namely Quetta, Stratfor came out with this on Mullah Omar's possible location.

Though Mullah Omar's location is not known for certain, he likely is in an area that affords him security as well as the ability to lead the insurgency. This means he can probably cross the Afghan-Pakistani border when needed. However, he is probably more secure on the Pakistani side of the border since it offers some protection from the Afghan and NATO forces searching for him.

However, Mullah Omar's likely location must also let him directly communicate with his commanders -- whose base of operations is in southeastern Afghanistan in the provinces of Zabul, Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan. Mullah Omar's hideout in Pakistan is likely near these areas -- he is not hiding in the North-West Frontier Province, and is unlikely to be in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas since it is the focus of global attention and the target of U.S. airstrikes and Pakistani operations. Mullah Omar also must be in a tribal and religiously conservative Pashtun region.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, only one area is left -- the Pashtun belt in the northwestern part of Pakistan's Balochistan province, as it is directly located opposite the Taliban stronghold areas in Afghanistan.[Stratfor]

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