Afghan officials and an individual close to the Taliban claim that the group’s spiritual leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, for whom the United States had issued a $10 million bounty, is dead.
According to a report in The Express Tribune Wednesday morning, an anonymous former Afghan Taliban minister claimed that Mullah Omar died of Tuberculosis two years and four months ago and has been buried in Afghanistan, adding that the leader’s corpse was identified by his son.
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Afghan officials have also said that the Pakistani government claimed that Mullah Omar died two years ago.
However, the Taliban immediately rejected the reports, a spokesman for the group telling Voice of America that Mullah Omar is "very much alive." Afghan officials are currently investigating the claims.
Mullah Omar, who has not been seen in public since 2001, during the first months of the United States’ invasion into Afghanistan, has been reported to be dead before.
Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and an expert on counterterrorism and al Qaeda, expressed doubt in the validity of the reports, listing multiple reasons on Twitter for which he remains suspicious of the news.
"Keep in mind that the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has been circulated rumors of Mullah Omar’s supposed death on social media," he wrote. " I don’t know this to be the case, but you have to wonder if that is the ultimate source for the latest reports–disinfo spread by ISIS."
The Taliban is currently pondering a peace deal with the Afghan government.
UPDATE 10:58 A.M.: The spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security Abdul Hassib Seddiqi told the Associated Press Wednesday that the country’s main intelligency agency has confirmed that Mullah Omar died in a Pakistani hospital in April 2013.