Date
21 October 2017
Mullah Omar rose from obscure cleric to spiritual leader of the Taliban. His death was confirmed by the Afghan government but the exact circumstances are unclear. Photo: The Citizen
Mullah Omar rose from obscure cleric to spiritual leader of the Taliban. His death was confirmed by the Afghan government but the exact circumstances are unclear. Photo: The Citizen

Taliban leader Mullah Omar dead, says Afghan spy agency

A Taliban leader and one of the world’s most wanted fugitives died in 2013 but the circumstances of his death are unknown.

Afghanistan’s spy agency confirmed the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar, who rose from obscure cleric to spiritual leader of the Taliban.

The government cited “credible information” in announcing the news and urged the Taliban to come to the negotiating table, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Taliban remains silent. 

The government said grounds for the Afghan peace talks are “more paved now than before” as it called on all armed opposition groups to “seize the opportunity and join the peace process”.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz confirmed Mullah Omar’s death, saying: “We do believe reports of his death to be credible.”

Others, however, question whether Mullah Omar is indeed dead.

“The official channels of the Taliban have not confirmed his death,” said Sayed Mohammad Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander who fought alongside Mullah Omar against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

“Even if he is dead, that doesn’t affect the Taliban movement. The Taliban movement is based on the Taliban ideology,” said Agha, who lives in Kabul under surveillance but remains in touch with some senior Taliban.

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