Death Reported Of Mullah Omar: On Wednesday, (July 29), the death of Mullah Omar was reported - initially from sources in Pakistan - and was subsequently confirmed by spokespersons for the Afghan Government. Of course, his death had been rumoured for years, not least because the reclusive leader hadn't been seen in public for over a decade. It was suggested that he had died of tuberculosis over two years ago. Of equal interest, is the fact that a statement, issued at Eid (the end of the Ramadan/Ramazan fasting period) purporting to come from Mullah Omar, had welcomed the very tentative talks and uncertain overtures - promoted by China, the US, and, somewhat more ambivalently, by Pakistan, - that had been taking place between elements of the Taliban and the Afghan Government. Before this announcement, strain and tensions had become increasingly evident between Taliban commanders in the field and those ensconced in exile in Pakistan over the future direction of the movement, with some of the leaders less inclined to continue the armed struggle, while those in the field see potential military gains in Government weakness and the international drawdown and wish to maximise their position in advance of any talks. Already, the movement is showing splits between a number of radicals - some of whom have rebadged themselves under the banner of IS citing a lack of radicalism in the Taliban, and those who are prepared to contemplate the bare beginnings of negotiations with the Afghan authorities under the new administration of President Ashraf Ghani. However, even within the Taliban, adding further to an already divided organisation, is the fact that further tensions are becoming evident between the family of Mullah Omar, including his son, and his long time deputy, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, as to who shall succeed him and win the allegiance of the loosely structured groups and body known as the Taliban. The Taliban are not only fighting the current Government of Afghanistan; in some regions, they are fighting radicals who claim allegiance to the banner of IS, arguing that the Taliban vision for Afghanistan (a radical Islamic state entirely free of foreign influence) lacks ambition and is painfully limited. Given how the death of a great many witless celebrities - many of whom, as I am not from the US, I have never heard of - will almost always give rise to a thread, I am a little surprised that the reported death of Mullah Omar has excited next to no comment to date.