Afghanistan calls press conference on Mullah Omar amid rumors of his death

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 29, 2015 5:53 AM

KABUL (Reuters) - An Afghan government official said on Wednesday that a press conference had been called on the subject of Taliban leader Mullah Omar, amid rumors of his death.

The official, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to give statements to the press, did not provide further details.

The elusive leader of the hardline Islamist movement, which ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s until it was toppled by a U.S.-led offensive in 2001, has not been seen in public for years, leading to speculation he has been dead for some time.

The Taliban has been fighting an insurgency against the Western-backed government in Kabul since its ouster, killing thousands of civilians and security personnel and making significant territorial gains in recent months.

Tentative peace talks have begun aimed at ending the war, with the Taliban split between those who support dialogue and others who want to continue to fight for power.

(Reporting by Jessica Donati; Editing by Mike Collett-White)