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Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Is 'Dead'

It is being reported today that elusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar is dead. A Taliban spokesperson told VICE News that he couldn't confirm anything at this time, but that the group would respond shortly.

by VICE News
Jul 29 2015, 10:10am

Photo par EPA

VICE News is covering the ongoing fight for the future of Afghanistan. Click here for more from the Enduring Freedom blog.

Reports are now emerging that Taliban leader Mullah Omar has died, and has indeed been dead for several years.

A Taliban spokesperson told VICE News that he couldn't confirm anything at this time, but the group would respond shortly.

Meanwhile, a source from Afghanistan's Presidential Palace told VICE News that Pakistani authorities had informed Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani that Omar died from natural causes three years ago. 

The deputy spokesperson for the Afghan president Sayed Zafar Hashimi has said that the government can neither confirm or deny reports of Omar's death, though they are investigating the reports.

Related: Hundreds of Taliban Fighters Seize District HQ in Northern Afghanistan

Later on Wednesday, Afghanistan's main intelligence agency declared that Omar has been dead for more than two years.

Abdul Hassib Seddiqi, the spokesman for Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, told the Associated Press that Mullah Omar died in a hospital in the Pakistani city of Karachi in April 2013.

"We confirm officially that he is dead," he said.

"He was very sick in a Karachi hospital and died suspiciously there," Seddiqi continued, without elaborating.

Later on Wednesday, The White House said that the US has concluded that reports of Omar's death are credible. 

Omar led the Taliban to victory during the civil war that followed the withdrawal of Soviet forces in Afghanistan and became the movement's "Supreme Leader" in 1996.

His support for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden prompted the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

With a $10 million US state department bounty on his head in the wake of the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, Omar went into hiding.

The news of his death comes as arrangements for a second round of peace talks between Taliban leaders and Afghan government members are being finalized, according to Pakistani officials.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.