Taliban Leader Reportedly Dead

Taliban Leader Reportedly DeadTaliban Leader Reportedly Dead

An Afghan official said Wednesday his government is examining claims that reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar is dead. Unnamed intelligence sources said they believed he died two to three years ago.

"We are aware of the reports of the death of Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader," Said Zafar Hashemi, a deputy spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in a news conference. "We are still in the process of checking those reports, and as soon as we get confirmation or verification, we will inform the Afghan people and the media," AP reported.

Omar, the secretive head of the Taliban and an Al-Qaida ally, led a bloody insurgency against US-led forces after they toppled him from his rule in Afghanistan in 2001.

A Pakistani security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, called the circling rumors "speculation" designed to disrupt peace talks. There have been several reports of Omar's death in the past. The rumors come two days before the next round of talks between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives is due to be held in Pakistan. A senior government official confirmed the meeting will take place in the resort town of Murree, where the first round was held on July 7.