Wednesday 18 October 2017

The Taliban's most feared leader Mullah Omar died 'two or three years ago'

Mullah Mohammed Omar
Mullah Mohammed Omar Newsdesk Newsdesk

One of Afghanistan’s most feared militant leaders is dead, said Afghan officials.

Mullah Mohammed Omar, who has lead the Taliban since it emerged from the Afghan civil war in the early 1990s, is believed to have died two to three years ago, said government sources.

No further details have been released and the Afghan Government is to hold a press conference later today to confirm the information.

The Taliban is also reportedly preparing a statement.

Mullah Mohammed Omar
Mullah Mohammed Omar

Rarely-photographed, the reclusive one-eyed Omar led the oppressive Taliban rule over most of Afghanistan for five years in the 90s.

His alliance with al-Qaeda prompted the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and the militant leader has been in hiding since.

The US placed a bounty of €8.5 million ($10m) on his head.

There have been several reports of Mullah Omar's death in the past.

However, this is the first to be confirmed by top sources in the Afghan government.

Over the years, the Taliban have released several messages purported to be from the fugitive leader.

The latest of these statements, from mid-July, expressed support for peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

However, the message was in the form of a text published on a Taliban website, rather than an audio or video recording - fuelling rumours that the Omar was dead or incapacitated.

The Taliban has been fighting an insurgency against the Western-backed government in Kabul since its ouster in 2001.

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