Omar no longer on FBI's most wanted list
KABUL (PAN): The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has quietly removed Taliban supreme leader Mullah Muhammad Omar's name from its list of the most wanted terrorists, carrying huge bounties on their heads, media reports said on Tuesday.
Several Pakistani media outlets, including private Geo News and Dunya TV channels, quoted an unnamed FBI source as saying that the reclusive Taliban leader had been struck off the 10 most wanted terrorists' list on its website.
However, other insurgent leaders, including Al Qaeda chief Ayman Al Zawahiri and Pakistani Taliban's commander Hakimullah Mehsud remained on the list. The US had announced a $10 million reward for information leading to Omar's capture.
Apparently, Geo News said, the FBI had taken the step to pave the ground for holding concrete talks with the Taliban on ending the decade-long conflict in Afghanistan.
American officials are said to have been in clandestine negotiations with Omar's representatives for the past 10 months. Most of the secret meetings, which also discussed the transfer of several Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay to Afghanistan, reportedly took place in Germany and Doha.
Political analyst Mohammad Hasan Haqyar viewed the development as the first substantive confidence-building measure to make the talks result-oriented. US support for the opening of Taliban's political office was part of the initiatives, he said.
"Although the removal of Mullah Omar's name from the FBI list has not been confirmed so far, I believe the United States has agreed to Taliban's conditions for dialogue," Haqyar added.
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