Taliban head is missing, reportedly killed, or planning new attacks

Taliban in Herat (Photo by Bluuurgh)
Taliban leader Mohammed Omar may have been killed in Pakistan. The news came from a private Afghani TV channel. The Taliban has branded it as propaganda, while Afghani authorities said they do not have information on the man’s whereabouts.

The death of mullah Omar, who is considered one of the world’s most influential terrorist leaders, on par with the late Osama Bin Laden, was reported on Monday by the Afghani TV channel Tolo.

It cited an unnamed source as saying that the leader of the Taliban movement was killed by NATO forces on Saturday in Pakistan on his way to North Waziristan province. The mountainous region borders with Afghanistan, and the Taliban has strong influence among local tribes.

The report was dismissed by a Taliban representative as propaganda. A spokesman for the radical movement said in a statement published online that Omar is alive and well, and is planning military operations in a safe place. The goal of the news was to discredit Taliban’s recent advances, the statement said.

Pakistani authorities neither confirmed nor denied the report.

Meanwhile, Afghani National Directorate of Security said that they lost track of Omar less than a week ago.

“We can only confirm that he went missing from his hideout in Quetta in Balochistan Province four or five days ago. We cannot say whether he is alive or dead,” spokesman for the service Nutfullah Mashal said.

Mohammed Omar has been the leader of Taliban since the mid-1990s, when the movement ruled in Afghanistan. The question of how big a role he takes in controlling Taliban actions now is disputed.