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Taliban deny report
By Farzad Lameh
KABUL – Although some Afghan media are reporting that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar is dead, the Taliban are denying the unverified reports.
The Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) said May 23 Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had “disappeared from his hideout” in Quetta, Pakistan, as long as five days ago.
“(But) so far we cannot confirm the killing of Mullah Omar officially,” NDS spokesman Nutfullah Mashal said.
That official report came after an anonymous source in the NDS told media that Omar had reportedly been killed in Pakistan.
TOLOnews reported that Omar was killed on his way to North Waziristan. The report offered scant information and had no details about how he was killed or who killed him.
NDS personnel have learned that Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, hasn’t contacted Omar in the past few days, Mashal said.
“We have also (learned) that the real name of ... Zabiullah Mujahid is Haji Ismael,” Mashal said. But the NDS has no solid confirmation about Omar, he stressed.
The Taliban called reports of Omar’s death “gossip.”
“He is safe and still leading the Taliban movement,” Mujahid said in an e-mailed statement May 23.
Omar was one of the forces behind the creation of the Taliban in the 1990s and is considered the group’s spiritual leader.