PESHAWAR, Oct 1: Mulla Omar on Monday warned that the Taliban would retreat to the mountains and wage a long war against the former Afghan monarch if the Taliban government was toppled in the event of an attack on Afghanistan.

“Taliban are an organized force. Theirs is not a government like that of Zahir Shah whose government was toppled and his forces surrendered before another authority. If the Taliban government is toppled, they would retreat to the mountains. How will he rule then? How will he survive? Don’t ruin yourself, don’t drown yourself,” the Taliban supreme leader said in a radio address to the nation on Sunday night.

In what is seen as the most direct and stinging attack on the former king, Zahir Shah, who lives in self-exile in Rome since his government was toppled by his cousin Sardar Muhammad Daud in 1973, Mulla Omar warned: “Don’t be mistaken, people will come after you and kill you.”

This was Mulla Omar’s second radio address to the people. The Taliban supreme leader had hitherto avoided speaking about the former king and efforts to convene the traditional Loya Jirga or grand assembly of elders to form a government acceptable to the majority of the Afghans.

Zahir Shah last week said that moderate Taliban may also have a role in the future set-up.

A recent survey carried by the State Department however, showed that the former king enjoyed 49 per cent support among the people with the Taliban enjoying the backing of only 11 per cent. Analysts interpret Mulla Omar’s tirade against Zahir Shah as sings of growing nervousness in the Taliban leadership.

The Taliban supreme leader said that the Afghans be left alone.

He said that the Taliban had been able to stop war and bring peace to 95 per cent of the territory. He said that he was confident that neither the United States nor her supporters could do anything. “They will only ruin themselves. It is not that the Mulla will go to Rome and Zahir Shah will take his place and the forces will surrender to him.

The Taliban will go to the mountains and will not let him (Zahir Shah) rule in peace.”

Mulla Omar went on to ridicule the former king and said that the people would not differentiate between those who had been brought into power by the Russians and those installed by the Americans. “You are no longer the monarch. The injustices of the past have ended and the people have swallowed the bitter pill of your rule. Have the fear of God and leave the Muslims in peace.”

He accused the United States of installing puppet regimes everywhere and said that the recent attacks in Washington and New York were the results of her own deeds.

He urged Washington to let the Muslims, Arabs and Afghans rule in their countries. “Only then can you live in peace,” he said.



Updated 19 May, 2022

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