Omar killed in Pakistan; Taliban deny
KABUL (PAN): Taliban's reclusive leader Mullah Mohammad Omar was killed in a joint operation by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Haqqani Network in Pakistan, a security official revealed on Monday.
The one-eyed fugitive was killed on his way from Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province, to the tribal region of North Waziristan, an Afghan security official said on condition of anonymity.
Pakistan's spy service had asked Mullah Omar -- carrying a huge US bounty on his head -- through its former chief, Gen. Hameed Gul, to shift to North Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan, the source said.
Islamabad wanted to kill the most wanted man near the Afghanistan border to show the world that he did not live in urban areas of Pakistan, but was hiding in a remote frontier region, he added. They wanted to prove that terrorists were operating on both sides of the border.
Pakistan had been under mounting pressure from the US-led international community in the wake of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's death during a raid by American forces in Abbottabad on May 2, the source said.
US President Barak Obama warned on Sunday if his country got credible information about Omar's presence in Pakistan, it would not hesitate to replicate the Abbottabad operation.
Meanwhile, an independent Kabul-based television network quoted Afghan intelligence sources as confirming the Taliban supreme leader's killing. "It is correct that Omar has been killed," Tolo TV channel quoted an unnamed official as saying.
Spiritual leader and founder of the Taliban movement that operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan, he was Afghanistan's de facto head of state from 1996 to late 2001.
However, the Taliban rejected reports that its leader had been killed. "He is in Afghanistan safe and sound," rebel spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Pajhwok Afghan News over the telephone.
"He is busy waging a jihad against Afghan and foreign forces on Afghan soil," Mujahid said, challenging security officials to substantiate their claim.
Lotfullah Mashal, the National Security Directorate's spokesman, said he could only confirm Omar's shifting from Quetta to Waziristan. However, he gave no further details.
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