DW: finding out facts about someone like Mullah Omar have to had been tough. How did the Taliban react to a Western journalist asking questions?
Bette Dam: The Taliban had been now not easy to talk to about the whereabouts of Mullah Omar. They were very secretive approximately it.
After encountering these problems, how did you move approximately digging up the fact?
I did many interviews with numerous assets. Then I went to the Afghan mystery provider in Kabul. I spoke to a few generals. One nevertheless believed that Mullah Omar became living in Pakistan. But the other two believed that he become in Afghanistan.
And in the ones conversations, a call repeatedly kept arising. It became of Omar's bodyguard and that i wrote it down, however i was not capable of attain him on the time. He were arrested. After I in the end observed him, he turned into now not in a actual jail although. The name of the game carrier of Afghanistan had presented him a secure house.
I were given maintain of a image of Jabbar Omari earlier than I went to meet him at this residence. That turned into vital due to the fact I needed to perceive him. After I noticed him for the primary time, I really wondered whether or not it changed into in reality the individual I become seeking out. however it was him. After running for five years on Mullah Omar, it became very unique to peer the man who had been with him for a long term, who is a reservoir of facts. I was now able to see Mullah Omar at the least thru his eyes and ask him questions.
What was it like speaking to the person who once promised to present his lifestyles for Omar?
The interview become now not so smooth. I think he became frightened of me, afraid that I had very sturdy evaluations on Mullah Omar. He became very worried. It took me an hour or to persuade him however then we spoke for six hours. He instructed me approximately the information of Mullah Omar's life and the way they spent their days collectively.
It was very hard for him to speak approximately the people who were worried, which is understandable. And it changed into very hard for him to expose the name of the village in which Omar turned into hiding.
despite the fact that I had already found out the name of the village, I asked him a couple of times about it. I stated: "are you able to please share the name? i will not write it down."
but then he said, "ok show me the map" and i had a map with me from that location. I pointed my finger to the village. He then checked out me and closed the map, pronouncing: "what's your subsequent query?" So that is how close I were given with this data.
How did you confirm the facts from the numerous sources?
I had already obtained loads of data in this tale from the nearby mystery carrier who gave me the village's name and who told me how Omari changed into running.
And every other thing which is very thrilling is that when Sep 11 many Taliban combatants went to this unique vicinity in Zabul. And it became commonplace understanding that Mullah Omar turned into amongst them.
Then there are different assets. As an example, there was any other messenger coming and going among any other metropolis and this village, so we had that guy recognized. I had the possibility to go-check his life and what the Taliban had been considering him and his function. And there was a former spokesperson of the Taliban who additionally wrote a ebook about this particular period in Pashtu. So we had that translated.
The records you accumulated shows that Mullah Omar basically lived across the nook from a major US military base which could be a humiliation. Have you ever gotten any reaction from US government?
I did request the Pentagon to comment. They didn't. But I'm positive something will show up. Some former CIA human beings are now knocking on my door to talk to me and that's very exciting. And i think it'll be excellent to create another record to peer what the end result of all this is.
you also talked to a number of the humans operating inside the US army base Wolverine in Zabul. What did they say?
I spoke to the intelligence officer of that camp whose process it's miles to find terrorists. First, I just allow him talk about his paintings. He stated: "we are basically only specializing in preserving the street between Kabul and Kandahar open because we have so many things on our plate. So our awareness is to get our military out if necessary."
So different troubles, like where Mullah Omar changed into, were no longer on his agenda. Once I requested him "Did you ever search for Mullah Omar?" he said: "Why might I look for Mullah Omar? he is of course in a rustic that is pleasant to him, so he's in Pakistan."
Your e-book provoked a massive outcry global. Have been you aiming for that?
It become very hard for me to understand what might occur. The Dutch e book turned into posted four weeks ago. That became right now a bestseller. I did no longer anticipate this because Afghanistan is out of the news. So many publishers rejected my ebook, pronouncing: "Oh no, we're speakme approximately ISIS now." but I just thought, "k first-class. I assume it's an critical story. I am going and see what i will do."
i'm glad that the sector is talking approximately it now and is debating the intelligence the individuals have, for instance. I want people to impeach the warfare on terror: like what can we simply recognise about it and what can we realize approximately the those who are on these maximum wanted lists that Washington has organized.
but I additionally desire that the ebook can be translated in lots of languages, so that we hold this discussion inside the global about the global warfare on terror. Possibly it evokes other reporters to do more cross-checking on claims from Washington or claims from Afghanistan or Pakistan.
The interview become conducted via Ann-Christin Herbe. The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.