Taliban confirm death of Mullah Omar, appoint his successor
A day after Afghan government sources claimed that Mullah Omar died two years ago, Taliban broke their silence on Thursday and officially confirmed the death of their one-eyed leader.
Kabul: A day after Afghan government sources claimed that Mullah Omar died two years ago, Taliban broke their silence on Thursday and officially confirmed the death of their one-eyed leader, reports said.
"The leadership of the Islamic Emirate and the family of Mullah Omar... announce that leader Mullah Omar died due to a sickness," AFP quoted a Taliban statement.
The Taliban Shura, or Supreme Council, has also appointed Mullah Omar's deputy Mullah Akhtar Mansour as successor, reports said.
As per a BBC report, Mansour's appointment as his successor is likely to divide the militants, as the move was opposed by many senior leaders.
Following Mansoor's election, the Taliban also chose Sirajuddin Haqqani as its new deputy leader, the two Taliban figures told a new agency.
Mansoor is considered close to the Pakistani authorities and his election could further divide an already-fractured Taliban as he is believed to have links to opposing councils within the movement.
While, Haqqani has a US government bounty of $10 million on his head as a leader of the extremist Haqqani network, which is allied with al Qaeda.
The Taliban are believed to have splintered under pressure to enter into peace talks with the Afghan government after almost 14 years of war.
Earlier in the day, Afghan Taliban released a statement saying the group was unaware of any peace talks as being reported in the media.
Pakistan confirmed that peace talks were postponed at the Taliban's request due to uncertainty over Mullah Omar's death.
The Afghan government first announced on Wednesday that Mullah Omar is dead and that he in fact died over two years ago in a hospital in Pakistan. There was no confirmation on this from either Islamabad or the Taliban. His death had been announced on a number of occasions in the past but consistently denied by the Taliban.
With Agency Inputs