Rare photo of Taliban leader Omar surfaces

Mullah Omar
Mullah Omar

In this handout photograph taken in 1978 and obtained from the Afghan Taliban on October 12, 2015 shows the late Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar posing for a portrait when he was a student at a madrassa in Kandahar.

The Afghan Taliban have released a striking new picture of late founder Mullah Omar from his days as a religious student, the only known image of the reclusive leader before he lost his right eye in battle.

The picture, taken in 1978, was first posted on the Taliban’s official site (http://shahamat-english.com/omar-iii-from-the-slum-to-emirate).

A clearer scanned copy shows a youthful, thickly-bearded Omar wearing a green turban and a waistcoat over his traditional Afghan tunic, as he stares directly into the camera.

According to an official biography he was born around 1960 to a humble family in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar. He fought with the Afghan mujahideen against the occupying Soviet army in the 1980s and lost his right eye in battle, possibly to exploding shrapnel.

Taliban legend has it that he cut out the wounded eye himself, while more prosaic accounts say he was treated at a hospital in Pakistan.


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