July 29, 2015 | Quote

Rumors of Mullah Omar’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated Before

Rumors surfaced Wednesday morning that Mullah Omar, the notorious one-eyed leader of the Taliban, had died. The BBC first reported news of Omar’s death, citing “top sources within the Afghan administration and intelligence agency.” The Taliban has reportedly both denied the claim and said it was investigating.

Abdul Hassib Seddiqi, the spokesman for Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, said 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.

But this is hardly the first time Omar has been said to have died, and security experts urged caution with this latest report. The anonymous rumors Wednesday said Omar might have died as long as three years ago, possibly following a bout of tuberculosis.

“I find that very hard to believe as this would be something that is very difficult to keep secret during all that time,” Thomas Joscelyn, a terrorism expert and editor of the Long War Journal, told The Daily Beast.

Joscelyn noted that the Taliban have routinely released statements attributed to Omar each year, including just recently. “I doubt the Taliban has been pretending that he has been alive,” Joscelyn said. “There are too many people who would have to keep quiet.”


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Afghanistan Al Qaeda