The commander of the Taliban armed forces in five southern provinces of Afghanistan, Mullah Ahtar Usmani, will become the successor of Mullah Omar in case of his death. According to the Online news agency, such a decision was taken allegedly unanimously at the session of the Taliban's Sura (council or government). But Usmani has not been given the post of the Prime Minister. After the death from cancer of the Taliban's Prime Minister (Sura chairman) Mohammed Rabbani in Peshawar several months ago, Usmani has remained the closest friend and adviser of Mullah Omar. In their time they went to the same madrasah in the Province of Kandahar before the Taliban seized power in that province in 1994 and then, in 1996, captured Kabul and in the next years the ninety percent of the rest of the country. The news agency quotes an anonymous Taliban leader as saying that Mullah Omar is still in Kandahar but "his movement is limited for reasons of safety, and it is Usmani who now commands all the military operations."
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