The Legend of Mullah Omar

The Past, Present, and Future of the Taliban

Courtesy Reuters

Lying on his deathbed in 2013, Mullah Omar likely imagined bigger headlines publicizing his life and death. The indisputable commander of the Taliban, Omar had battled the Soviets, ruled Afghanistan, and fronted a persistent insurgency that has bled U.S. taxpayers of a trillion dollars and embroiled the United States in the longest war in its history.

Now the commander of those enemy forces is dead—or has been for a while. The announcement of his passing hit the press more than two years late, due to the utility of pretending he was alive for both the Taliban and Islamabad. Despite the “Weekend at Bernie’s” ruse finally ending, however, U.S. policymakers are not celebrating—and for good reason. The announcement of Omar’s death appears to be fracturing the Taliban.

This may sound like a positive development, but the United States will find that dividing is one thing, but

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