Cautious reaction to the death of mullah Dadullah
It is hard to measure the impact of the death of the Taliban commander. The government is tight-lipped. Analysts point out the Talibans’ main leader is still alive and hiding somewhere in Pakistan. For them there are two possible consequences: the conflict either escalates or there is a major push for the government’s national reconciliation process.

Kabul (AsiaNews) – “A majority Afghans won’t mourn mullah Dadullah,” sources in Kabul told AsiaNews. The Afghan government and the local media have not however expressed any comments about the event. The country’s main papers have in fact only reported the event, providing a timeline for the career of the “Afghan al-Zarqawi’ without any analysis or editorial view.

Mullah Dadullah Akhund’s death can mean two possible things, analysts in Afghanistan told AsiaNews: “Either the conflict gets worse as the Talibans retaliate for the loss of their commander or the cautious process of national reconciliation launched by the Afghan government gets a boost.” There are in fact Taliban leaders who see continuing the struggle as “futile.”

However, it is still too soon to predict what will happen, especially since mullah Omar, the brain behind the Talibans, is still alive and hiding somewhere in Pakistan, sources said.

Dadullah’s loss is none the less the most serious knock dealt the Qur’anic students since 2001. It is a heavy one but by no means a fatal one. A replacement is certainly going to come to the fore.

Mullah Omar’s deputy met his end last Saturday during a joint NATO-Afghan operation in the southern province of Helmand, a spokesman for Afghanistan's intelligence service said.

In an official press release NATO was cautious but said that it had dealt the insurgency "a serious blow,” certainly not a final one.

Arabic satellite TV al-Jazeera announced that Taliban sources admitted Dadullah’s death. It also said that the group had already picked a successor but did not mention his name.

The 41-year-old Dadullah was an ethnic Pashto from Kajaki (Helmand province). Formally, he was in charge of operations by the southern insurgency.

In 1995 he lost a leg to a mine in Herat. In 1998 he was in charge of an operation against ethnic Hazaras in which he exterminated so many civilians that mullah Omar had to sack him.

A few months ago he told the media that he was in contact with Osama bin Laden, whom he said was still alive and still involved in jihad planning.

In September 2006 he spoke about the Pope’s lesson in Regensburg calling it “proof that a crusade is underway against Islam.”