After mounting speculation, the Afghan President’s office has confirmed reclusive Taliban leader Mohammad Mullah Omar is dead.
Afghan intelligence sources earlier announced Omar, the head of a growing insurgency against the government in Kabul, died over two years ago.
The leader has not been seen publically since fleeing in 2001 when the Taliban was toppled from power.
It is not the first time he’s been reported dead, although this time it has been verified.
The announcement comes amid preparations for a second round of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Weeks earlier, a letter had emerged purporting to give Omar’s approval for the discussions.
In the capital, reports of his death have received mixed reactions. Local resident, Asadullah Azizi was happy about the claim:
“Mullah Omar was the leader of terrorist groups in Afghanistan. He has led numerous assaults, suicide attacks and has killed many innocent civilians. As an Afghan citizen, I am happy he is dead.”
While Abdul Jalil added:
“I am happy to hear about the death of Mullah Omar, but I will not be happy that after his death another successor will emerge.”
The insurgents have been intensifying attacks on military and political targets, which have increased since last year’s withdrawal of most NATO troops from Afghanistan.
A senior Afghan Taliban commander based in neighbouring Pakistan earlier said the leader had died of natural causes, although no date was specified.