Washington, July 29: The leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, has reportedly died, according to Afghan officials, reports the BBC. The militant group has not commented on the claim.
An Afghan government official said on Wednesday that a press conference had been called on the subject of Taliban leader Mullah Omar, amid rumours of his death.
The issue was reportedly discussed during a meeting of the Afghan cabinet following the confirmation by Pakistani authorities, the Khaama Press reported.
The Pakistani authorities said Mullah Omar had died two years ago but no further details were given regarding the circumstances surrounding his death, reports the Hindustan Times.
Previously in May, 2011, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency had indicated that he had been killed in Pakistan. But the Taliban soon made a statement saying that their reclusive leader was still very much alive and “leading the mujahedeen in all aspects.”
Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, had called the information “enemy propaganda” in 2011, according to a New York Times report.
Mullah Omar and most of his comrades have constantly evaded capture despite one of the largest manhunts in the world, and are believed to be guiding the resurgent Taliban. The United States has offered a reward of $10 million for his capture.
The late US envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, said he believed Mullah Omar was in hiding somewhere along the rugged border between the two countries. The arrest of the Taliban’s second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, near Karachi in January 2010 had lend credence to theories that other top Afghan Taliban leaders are in hiding in Pakistan, reports the BBC.
The reports of Mullah Omar’s death came two days ahead of the next round of talks between the Taliban and Afghan officials in Pakistan.
2015 Kashmir Despatch