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May 23, 2011

Mullah Omar, Dead?

We've heard this before and reports tend to be skeptical.

A Taliban spokesman Monday vehemently denied claims that the movement's spiritual leader had died or been killed, even as Afghanistan's main intelligence service asserted that the reclusive cleric had disappeared from his alleged Pakistani hide-out. The spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said by telephone that the one-eyed, self-declared "leader of the faithful," who has long been thought to be hiding in Pakistan, was alive and well, directing the Taliban's military campaign in Afghanistan. Western diplomats in Kabul, together with tribal and intelligence sources in Pakistan, expressed skepticism over the death rumors, which have surfaced many times before.

But the wildfire-like spread of Monday's reports, aided by social media such as Twitter, reflected the degree of speculation surrounding Omar's fate, which has risen dramatically in the three weeks since Navy SEALs killed Bin Laden in a raid in Pakistan. They also spotlighted an increasingly combative and complicated relationship between Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan over the sheltering of militants.

A report on Afghanistan's most popular TV station made the claim first.

Thanks to Gnu Breed.


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posted by Ace at 09:38 PM

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