Author highlights intricacies of Mullah Omar's life, western media's distortion on Afghanistan.

ISLAMABAD -- The Western author of a book on Mullah Omar's life on Tuesday highlighted at a roundtable discussion here the intricacies of his life encompassing the political career and the Taliban movement, besides criticising the Western media for distorting facts surrounding Afghanistan.

The Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East and Africa (CAMEA) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organized 'A Conversation with Bette Dam, author of Looking for the Enemy: Mullah Omar and the Unknown Taliban.

During the discussion, Bette Dam highlighted the extensive research that had been undertaken to delve into the intricacies of Mullah Omar's life, encompassing his upbringing, formative years, development as a leader, the inception of the Taliban movement, and the final moments of his life.

Besides giving a brief presentation on her journey as an investigative journalist in particular, Bette Dam also talked about Mullah Omar's perspective on the Taliban, revealing that he viewed the group as a neutral peacekeeping force with the intention to halt the ongoing conflict and chaos in Afghanistan.

Contrary to prevailing beliefs, as highlighted in her book, Bette Dam challenged the narrative by emphasizing that Mullah Omar, the former Taliban leader, remained in Afghanistan until his death, refuting the misconception that he died in Pakistan.

Dam went on to assert that the realities surrounding Afghanistan have been distorted by Western media's narrative. She stressed that the complete picture was rarely presented, suggesting that a more comprehensive understanding is necessary to grasp the complexities of the situation.

During her discourse, Bette Dam shed light on the dominance of the Western narrative in media coverage, noting that this perspective had influenced approximately 80 percent of the portrayal.

She emphasized the need for a more balanced and nuanced approach, as the media had tended to focus on violence and portrayed only one side of the story.

Dam also revealed that in 2001, the Taliban had written surrender letters to the then-Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, which were unfortunately dismissed and thus an important opportunity for peace was conceivably lost.

Furthermore, she highlighted that the refusal by...

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