A wikileaks cable classified by US Deputy Chief of Mission John C Holzman in 1997 stated that Taliban chief Mullah Omar was a “bit of a control freak”.
The cable quotes Tayyab Hussaini, a second secretary at the Afghan embassy and a Talib as saying that “the Amir al-Mu’minin has total control of personnel decisions. Of course, he makes these decisions in consultation with other shura members.”
The cable also quotes former commander Rahim Wardak as saying Omar consults widely among senior Taliban officials; however, after hearing various viewpoints, Omar sometimes comes up with a decision completely different from any of the expressed views and then expects implementation.
The diplomat, however, noted that Mullah Omar is rarely seen in public and that he is known to be a man of few words and that he keeps to simple surroundings. The cable also noted that Mullah Omar does not meet many non-Muslims and that his political beliefs were obscure. The cable stated:
“The limited anecdotal evidence available provides little information on Mullah Omar’s personal political beliefs… Indeed, there is little evidence to suggest that Mullah Omar is an Islamic radical with an anti-Western agenda. He has not been known to make anti-Western statements, although he is known to be anti-Russian because of the Afghan-Soviet war.”
The cable said that Omar lived austerely without an elaborate court and entourage, and without the ubiquitous Pajero’s so many mujahidin commanders sped around the countryside in. It read:
“Whether Omar’s ascetic lifestyle is based solely on his temperament or is coldly calculated to set him and his movement apart from the discredited mujahidin commanders and leaders the Taliban replaced, many Afghans react approvingly. So far, no personality cult or emperor syndrome appears to have developed around Mullah Omar.”
The cable said that despite efforts to have a meeting with Mullah Omar at that time, the US was not able to achieve a result. It said that Omar was listening to the US embassy’s message from high-level Taliban and from US public statement but was not listening to them.