“Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said Taliban supremo Mullah Mohammed Omar was spotted last week in Pakistani city of Quetta and charged Islamabad with ‘turning a blind eye’ to terrorism in its border areas.” (Thanks to Fanabba.)
“‘We have received information that Mullah Omar was seen praying in a mosque ten days ago,’ Karzai said in an interview to The Times, London.
“Identifying the mosque as one in Quetta, Karzai accused Pakistan of ‘turning a blind eye’ to terrorism in its border regions.
“Mullah Omar, who has a $ 25 million bounty on his head, comes after Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein on the US most wanted list.
“There have been no confirmed sightings of the one-eyed cleric since the end of the Afghan war, but he has periodically taunted the West with taped messages urging attacks on coalition forces.
“Karzai described Quetta as the ‘terrorists’ stronghold’ and urged President Pervez Musharraf to stop hard-line Islamic groups from providing sanctuary and support to those responsible for the recent surge in violence in Afghanistan, which has left over 400 people dead in the last four months.”
“Pakistan government should take immediate action, particularly, against clerics who, he said, were openly recruiting volunteers from madrasas in Baluchistan and North West Frontier Province, which are governed by pro-Taliban parties. ‘The recruitment is being carried with the connivance of local authorities in border provinces,’ he said.”
However, “brushing aside Afghan President’s claim that Mullah Omar was witnessed in Quetta ten days ago, [Pakistan’s] Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad Saturday categorically denied the claim, urging Kabul to refrain from slapping blame on the neighboring country in a bid to conceal its lapses.”
*UPDATE: As reader Vilmos Soti has alleged that the photo I had up of Mullah Omar was not the genuine article, I have discarded it in favor of the one above, which has the advantage of depicting a man who is in fact blind in one eye, which is one of the few things we know for certain about Omar. But as I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting the man, I cannot vouch for the accuracy either of the earlier photo or of this one.