Death of Taliban’s Mullah Omar remains mystery
White House says the U.S. intelligence community has found that circumstances of his death remain uncertain
The White House said on Friday the U.S. intelligence community has confirmed the death of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar, but the circumstances of his death remain uncertain.
According to Reuters news agency, the White House said in a statement that his death "represents a chance for yet more progress on the path to a stable, secure Afghanistan."
Afghanistan said on Wednesday that Omar, the elusive leader of the Taliban movement fighting to topple the government, died more than two years ago. He had not been seen in public since fleeing when the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001 after s U.S.-led invasion.
Afghan and Pakistani media reports last week also said that the leader died about two years ago.
Abdul Hassib Seddiqi, the spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security, said Wednesday that Mullah Omar died in a hospital in the Pakistani city of Karachi in April 2013.
“We confirm officially that he is dead,” he told The Associated Press.
Haqqani still alive?
On Saturday, the Taliban denied reports of the death of the founder of Haqqani network, its allied militant group blamed for some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan.
Some Pakistani media reported the death of Jalaluddin Haqqani, said to be in his 70s, on Friday when his son Sirajuddin was announced as one of the deputy chiefs of the Taliban following the death of Mullah Omar.
"Some media outlets spread reports... about the death of a distinguished jihadi personality... Jalaluddin Haqqani," the Taliban said in a statement posted on their website.
"This claim has no basis. Haqqani... was ill before but he has been blessed with good health for a prolonged period now and has no troubles currently."
Haqqani's family also rejected rumors of his death, according to an Afghan Taliban commander who spoke to AFP from an undisclosed location in northwestern Pakistan.
"I talked to his grandson (who is somewhere in eastern Afghanistan) and he completely rejected rumours of his death," the commander said.
"'My grandfather is alive, I talked to him last week. He was weak and sick but alive and in good spirits', he told me."
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