Taliban deny Mullah Omar is dead

Afghanistan’s Taliban Monday dismissed as “pure propaganda” claims that their leader Mullah Omar was dead after an Afghan intelligence source said he had been killed in Pakistan.

“This is pure propaganda. This is not possible at all,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location. He added that Omar was currently inside Afghanistan “leading the mujahideen”.

The comments came after one Afghan intelligence source said Omar had been killed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, while another claimed he had been missing for 11 days.

The first source, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said that Omar had been killed on Friday, citing information received from sources within the Haqqani insurgent group, whose leaders are based in Pakistan.

“Based on ISI instruction through (former ISI chief) General Hamid Gul, Mullah Mohammad Omar was told to move from Quetta city of Pakistan to northern Waziristan,” the source said.

“As Mullah Omar was being transported from Quetta to North Waziristan by the ISI, he was secretly killed by the ISI.”

Gul described the claims by the sources as “totally false”.

“I never met Mullah Omar, not even once in my life,” he told AFP.

“This has been fed by the Indian lobby to defame Pakistan and me. I don’t think he is in Pakistan. He never came into Pakistan, even during the Soviet Union war (in Afghanistan).”

“I am in Muree with my wife and I have no involvement in this, whether he is dead or alive,” Gul told Reuters by telephone from a hill town north of the Pakistani capital.

“We don’t know if he is dead or not. My sense is he is alive.”

However, a second Afghan intelligence source who also spoke anonymously said that Omar had been missing for 11 days following a meeting with Gul.

“It has been 11 days since his close circle, the people around him, have no clue of his whereabouts. The Taliban leadership are all concerned and worried for the sudden disappearence of Mullah Omar,” the source said.

The Express Tribune

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