The Afghan Taliban confirm the death of their supreme leader Mullah Omar and has decided to appoint a new chief following reports of former supremo Mullah Omar’s death the previous day.
Quoting well-informed source, Senior journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai told Geo News (TV) on Thursday that a meeting of the Taliban supreme council (shura) was called on Wednesday in which it was unanimously decided that Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor will now serve as the movement’s supreme leader.
Sources said that Khalifah Sirajuddin Haqqani and Haibatullah Akhundzada were also appointed as deputies during the meeting, which was attended by all available members.
Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor join Taliban in 1995. He previously served as the second-in-command of the movement. He belongs from the Afghan province of Kandahar and is said to be supportive of peace negotiations.
New Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor is the former Minister of Civil Aviation and Transportation, and former shadow governor of Kandahar during the Taliban control in Afghanistan.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Afghanistan’s intelligence agency officials claimed that the reclusive former Taliban chief died two years ago at a hospital in Pakistan.
“Mullah Omar is dead,” said Haseeb Sediqi, a spokesman for the National Directorate of Security. “He died in a Karachi hospital in April 2013… under mysterious circumstances.”
Talking to VOA, a Taliban spokesman insisted that “Mullah Omar is very much alive”.
News of the former Taliban leader’s death came just two days before a second round of peace talks between the insurgents and Afghan government representatives which are expected to take place in Pakistan.
On July 7, The Afghan government conducted its first face-to-face talks with Taliban cadres supervised by American and Chinese representatives in the Pakistani hill station of Murree, Pakistan.