According to a Dutch journalist with extensive experience in Afghanistan, the Taliban leader and fugitive Mullah Mohammad Omar lived next to a major U.S. military base for years.

In her latest book, The Secret Life of Mullah Omar, independent journalist Bette Dam asserts that the former No. 1 in the Taliban hierarchy lived just three miles from U.S. Forward Operating Base (FOB) in the Zabul Province of Afghanistan. This FOB stationed over 1,000 troops, including special operations forces such as Navy SEAL platoons, Special Forces A-teams, and Special Air Service troops.

Multiple news reports assert Dam’s claim is supported by extensive interviewing of Taliban fighters and local Afghan civilians. She even interviewed Omar’s personal bodyguard, Jabbar Omari, who was responsible for the Taliban leader’s security after the Taliban was ousted from power by the Northern Alliance and U.S.-led international coalition.

The book offers a glimpse of what was like to be on the run from the powerful technology of the Western coalition. Omar often hid in irrigation ditches when Western or Afghani troops swept through the area. His life was one of isolation, with scant pleasure. He even invented a language which he used to write his journal entries, fearing they’d compromise Taliban operations if discovered.