Mullah Muhammad Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, is dead according to multiple sources, although the complete details of his death remain disputed.
Fox News reported on July 29 that the Afghanistan National Directorate of Security and the Office of President Ashraf Ghani both said that Mullah Omar died in 2013 in Pakistan. A spokesman for the National Directorate of Security specifically said that Omar died in a hospital in Karachi. The article also reported that an unnamed “senior U.S. official” claimed that Omar died from a problem with his liver or a kidney.
The Taliban initially denied the reports of Omar’s death but later confirmed them even as the group claimed Omar died in southern Afghanistan and not Pakistan. Omar led the Islamic Taliban which ruled Afghanistan prior to the U.S. invading it in late 2001.
The allegation that Omar died in Karachi is not insignificant. The Washington Post reported on July 30 that the CIA had supposedly approached Pakistan in 2011 and accused its Inter-Services Intelligence of sheltering Omar in Karachi. The Post article said that then-Director of the CIA Leon Panetta confronted then-President Asif Zardari and named the specific hospital where CIA intelligence thought Omar was.
Reports of Omar being in Karachi have been around for years, with one of the earliest coming in 2009 from the Washington Times. The Times article said Omar moved to Karachi with the help of the ISI in order to avoid unmanned aerial systems airstrikes by the U.S. Omar had previously been living near the Afghan-Pakistan border.
Breitbart News Network reported in 2010 that the ISI had by then placed Omar under house arrest in Karachi. And the Washington Post reported in 2011 the ISI had taken Omar to a Karachi hospital for surgery. The Washington Post wrote the source of its report was a private intelligence network known as the Eclipse Group. The Eclipse Group has appeared in news stories since then and for a variety of reasons.
CBS News reported on July 31 that the Taliban have already chosen Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as the new leader of the Afghan terror group.
[Image via the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center]