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Sep 09, 2010 at 04:04pm IST

Taliban close to victory, says Mullah Omar

London: The victory of the Taliban over US-led forces in Afghanistan is imminent, the group's elusive chief Mullah Omar has said in a rare statement.

BBC on Thursday quoted the one-eyed guerrilla leader as saying that the Taliban was winning because the Western military campaign aimed at snuffing out the militia had been "a complete failure".

Mullah Omar, thought to be the spiritual head of the Taliban, demanded that US President Barack Obama withdraw his troops "unconditionally and as soon as possible".

Taliban close to victory, says Mullah Omar

The one-eyed guerrilla leader says the Western military campaign aimed at snuffing out the militia had failed.

Mullah Omar's statement was put up on jehadist websites. The Site Intelligence Group relayed it.

He said: "The victory of our Islamic nation over the invading infidels is now imminent and the driving force behind this is the belief in the help of Allah and unity among ourselves.

"In the time to come, we will try to establish an Islamic, independent, perfect and strong system."

The Taliban leader, who has not been spotted in public for years but is suspected to be hiding in Pakistan, said those responsible for invading Afghanistan in 2001 and ousting the Taliban had admitted that all their strategies "are nothing but a complete failure".

At the same time, he directed his guerrillas to observe the Taliban's code of conduct and not to harm civilians.

The US has set July 2011 as the deadline to begin withdrawing its troops if conditions permit. Barack Obama had ordered 30,000 more US soldiers into Afghanistan in December following a resurgence of Taliban.

Then US president George W Bush ordered military attacks to topple the Taliban regime after the Al Qaeda, whose chief Osama bin Laden lived in Afghanistan, destroyed the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001.

Both bin Laden and Mullah Omar, however, escaped the US military sweep that followed and reportedly escaped to Pakistan, with whose intelligence agency they have had close links for years.

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