Taliban commander: Osama calls the shots

Mansour Dadullah, new Taliban military commander since the death of his brother Mullah Dadullah in combat last month, told AlJazeera in an exclusive interview: “Sheikh Osama bin Laden is alive and active. He’s carrying out his duties. The latest proof that he is alive is that he sent me a letter of condolences after the martyrdom of my brother. He advised me to follow my brother’s path… Sheikh Osama prefers not to be seen or meet anyone because if he makes himself available to the media maybe he will be facing danger.”

Mansour said the elusive al-Qaeda leader will remain in hiding. “His presence is an honour to all of us, we don’t want to lose him. I have also asked him not to meet anyone and remain in hiding and continue to give his instructions to the commanders so that al-Qaeda would remain alive and continue its activities all over the world.”

Meanwhile, the Taliban said it had beheaded an Afghan doctor and warned of further slayings after the government failed to hand over the body of Mullah Dadullah. The Taliban had threatened to execute the doctor and three male nurses, who were captured in March, if the corpse was not handed over. Taliban spokesman Shohabudin Atal said: “We had told the government to hand over the body of Dadullah. Since they didn’t hand us the body, we beheaded one of the doctors named Abdul Khalil.” (AlJazeera, June 5)

The Afghan Defense Ministry said June 5 that a boat full of some 30 fleeing Taliban fighters had been fired upon by NATO helicopters and sunk in the Helmand River, drowning all on board. (NYT, June 5)

See our last posts on Afghanistan, al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.