"Despite a two-year manhunt by thousands of American troops, inside sources say that the Taliban's elusive leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, remains firmly in control, directing operations through a 10-man leadership council that was created in June." This according to Reuters and the Guardian.
"'Since this council was set up, the Taliban jihad has much improved,' a Taliban official, Mullah Abdul Rauf, told Reuters from an undisclosed location. 'Mullah Mohammed Omar is still in charge and head of the Taliban, and all our jihadi activities are being carried out with his permission and consultation.'
"'During the last two years Taliban commanders attended a number of meetings chaired by Mullah Omar during which they planned tactics of the Taliban jihad,' said Mullah Rauf. 'He also issues instructions to Taliban commanders through other secret means.'
This mullah also declared: "Osama bin Laden is the greatest mujahid [holy warrior] and all Muslims think he is their ideal. All those fighting a jihad anywhere in the world against the cruel infidels, including [in] Afghanistan, are our brothers and allies."
Such an assertion stands in bald contrast to the repeated claims by American Muslim groups that Osama and others like him are marginal extremists with little support in the Islamic world — as Salam Al-Maryati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council insisted Monday when speaking with me on the Michael Medved Show. I am not saying that Rauf is right and Maryati is wrong, but Maryati's claim would be bolstered if moderate Muslims around the world were more actively resisting the spread of Islamic radicalism, and the destruction wrought by it, both inside and outside the Muslim community.
Meanwhile, "Turkey yesterday said it had established a link to Afghanistan in the suicide bombings of two Istanbul synagogues, making its clearest statement yet that Osama bin Laden's Al Qaida network was behind the attacks."