A flurry of reports which announced the death of Mullah Omar, with BBC taking the lead in quoting an Afghan official saying that the reclusive Taliban leader died two to three years ago.
Taliban first denied the news, saying “Mullah Omar is very much alive and leading Taliban.” But 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.”
It was said on twitter by Ansaar Emirates, one the Afghan Taliban’s twitter accounts, that Mullah Omar never went to Pakistan.
— أنصار إمارة إسلامية (@AnsaarEmirate) July 30, 2015
Sami Yousafzai is a senior journalist, working on Pak Afghan affairs and terrorism, said earlier on Thursday that 30 months back Mullah Omar was died in the Nowzad district of Helmand province, Afghanistan.
30 month back Mulah Omar died in taizeni village of nowzad district in Helmand province http://t.co/OBc3oAhPd7"
— Sami Yousafzai (@Samiyousafzai) July 30, 2015
Quoting his credible sources in Taliban, Sami wrote in an exclusive story for the Newsweek that Mullah Omar never liked to travel to Pakistan.
“Omar died in Afghanistan, my contact said. People have often assumed that the Taliban leader fled across the border into Pakistan, like most of his surviving followers, but in fact he refused to leave the country of his birth. If you’re willing to trust the Pakistanis, you might just as well move to the United States, he told anyone who raised the thought.” Sami wrote.
Another top Afghan journalist working with CBS News, Ahmad Mukhtar has also tweeted to deny the Afghan government claim about the death of Omar in Karachi, with quoting his sources.
— Ahmad Mukhtar (@AhMukhtar) July 30, 2015
Sami Yousafzai says in his report; “No one can be sure what killed Omar. Some have suggested it may have been a heart attack, but according to my caller he was a long way from any doctor who could have given a proper diagnosis when it happened in January 2013.”
Omar’s death marks a significant blow to the Taliban, which is riven by internal divisions and threatened by the rise of the Islamic State group, the Middle East jihadist outfit that is making steady inroads in Afghanistan.