Taliban deny Mullah Omar was killed in Pakistan

Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Amir al Mumineen (“commander of the faithful”) of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban.

The Taliban are denying reports from Afghanistan which have claimed that Mullah Omar, the “Amir ul Mumineen” or commander of the faithful, has been killed while being moved from his hideout in Quetta to the Taliban safe haven of North Waziristan. First, a portion of the official statement from Zabihullah Mujahid, an official spokesman of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which was published at Voice of Jihad:

We strongly reject these false claims of the enemy and we confidently encourage our fellow countrymen, Mujahideen and the rest of the Muslims not to believe these intelligence lies and false reports. All praise is due to Allah, the esteemed Amir ul Mumineen is alive and well and is leading the Mujahideen in all aspects while living safely with reliance on Allah and with the strong backing and support of his believing nation. The enemy, with these kinds of rumors is trying to halt the devastating waves of ‘Badar’ operation and is trying to create confusion amongst Mujahideen, countrymen and faithful Muslims.

Second, Mujahid contacted Reuters to deny the report. Mujahid claimed that Omar is in Afghanistan, and not Pakistan (the Taliban have always kept up the fiction that Omar is in Pakistan):

“He is in Afghanistan safe and sound,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location. “We strongly reject these baseless allegations that Mullah Mohammad Omar has been killed.”

“This is the propaganda by the enemy to weaken the morale of fighters,” Mujahid said.

The reports appear to stem from an anonymous source in Afghanistan’s intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security. The unnamed source contacted TOLONews and claimed Omar is dead:

Taliban Leader Mullah Mohmmad Omar has been found and killed in Pakistan, a source in the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) told TOLOnews on the condition of anonymity.

Mullah Omar was shot dead as he was being moved from Quetta to North Waziristan by former ISI chief Gen. Hamid Gul, the source said.

According to the source, Mullah Omar has been killed two days ago. Foreign sources have not yet confirmed the death.

Officially, the NDS is saying that Omar has indeed disappeared from Quetta and has moved to North Waziristan, but would not confirm he was killed. From Dawn:

“We can confirm that he has been disappeared from his hideout in Quetta, Balochistan,” said Nutfullah Mashal, spokesman for the National Directorate of Security.

“He has been disappeared from his location during the last four to five days,” he added, speaking in English.

“So far we cannot confirm the killing of Mullah Omar officially.”

While it is certainly possible Omar has been moved to North Waziristan, the likelihood of this is low. North Waziristan is one of the few free-fire zones for US Predator and Reaper strike aircraft, and Omar would be a top priority (the US struck again in North Waziristan today, for the sixth time this month). It is unlikely that Pakistan’s military and the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate would expose its top asset to US fire in North Waziristan.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • indus says:

    Afghan Intelligence has since backed away and now states that Mullah Omar has been moved out of his Quetta safe house. This occured about 5 days ago.
    Could be that ISI moved him to another safe location, not to the mansion in Abbotabad though even though it is now empty.

  • Vienna,23-05-2011
    It is still a matter of patient work. Mullah Omar can also be
    located and eliminated.Pakistan or what is left over is split.
    there is no point for some Pakistanis claiming the U.S. is
    unpopular in Pakistan. Pakistan is unpopular in the whole
    -Kulamarva Balakrishna

  • AMac says:

    “It is unlikely that Pakistan’s military and the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate would expose its top asset to US fire in North Waziristan.”
    Any chance of getting concise and accurate sentences like this from analysts in the employ of mainstream media companies?

  • wallbangr says:

    Makes sense that he would be on the move. If we could locate and target UBL within Pakistan, Omar might have been suddenly feeling a whole lot less secure. Plus, with the intel trove (or even just the presumed trove if, in fact, it was not as significant as it was made out to be) from the UBL raid, you’d probably not want to be hanging out in the same place for too long. I suspect the rumors of his death are greatly exaggerated. The taliban, like AQ, would likely have confirmed (or at least withheld comment pending confirmation) his death in order to take the opportunity to call him a martyr.
    Gotta be a difficult time for upper echelon Taliban/AQ leaders these days. With god-only-knows-how-much intel spilled in the UBL raid, these guys are like sticks in the wind. There must be a crumbling sense of the erstwhile protection and security afforded by the ISI and Pak gov’t now. Again, how much is reality and how much is perception=reality in light of the fact that UBL got popped right under the nose of the Pak Army in a garrison town? Not sure it matters as long as it is keeping the right heads down. Plus, the prospect that not just preds can get you — but perhaps even a SEAL team if you are high enough on the HVT list — must make it a real crunch time for the likes of Omar. In actuality, I suspect we’ve played our hand as far as covert spec ops raids in Pakistan go. But if you are Mullah Omar, do you take that gamble? Lastly, I love that these guys are too busy staying out of sight to hold a shura council in order to appoint new leadership.
    No, the long war is not over. Nowhere close. But good things, lads. Good things.

  • pedestrian says:

    This jogged my memory. I remember a report days ago about a raid engaged in Quetta by Pakistan force. The news may have some link to the whereabout of Omar. One of the scenario may be he left Quetta being alerted about the raid, before or after. I have been supporting US drone strikes or other ground operations against Quetta terrorist networks, but the government was cautious which left Quetta a safehouse for Taliban and Al Qaida. Quetta was one of the last few safe zone for these entities after Karachi was targeted months ago, and against Bin Laden near the capitol. It is strongly recommended to strike Quetta in terms of PsyOps to give a message that there will be no place in Pakistan off limits for US operations which will disturb Taliban logistics.

  • Paul D says:

    I read somewhere recently that General Gul wanted Mullah Omar moved to Iran or Afghanistan as Pakistan could not afford The Americans finding him in Quetta.

  • destab says:

    The initial statement I read stated Saudi Special Forces had carried out the strike and the Pakistani’s were over-joyed another Muslim nation had stepped in to help. How gullible am I? It sounded plausible on first read.
    But I’ve got to apologise. It appears a previous comment by myself pushing for action in Quetta by Obama has spooked the spooks to move his one-eyedness, to a less obvious location. O’ma could have half seen the video’s of Osama’s pad and pushed for an upgrade, (with a helipad maybe).
    Before you question my sanity if Pakistan can dance with madness and see nought wrong, so can I.
    Still I repeat again attack the goat whisperer from his left side and he’ll never see it coming.
    The Pak ISI I suspect, try to decode comments here as secret messages from CIA/MOSSAD/RAW/NDS and whoever else is responsible for the mess they’ve created. OMG I’ve said too much……..
    Taking responsibility for one’s actions leads to growth, denying responsibility leads no where

  • Paul says:

    At this point if #2 Zawahiri & Omar are caught they should not go public with it. Just toss em in the ocean with the other trash.

  • Neo says:

    I will just take this as moving around high level assets in the wake of OBL death. Mullah Omar

  • destab says:

    I totally agree with Neo, this is war not some spectacular entertainment for the MSM.
    Behead the vile taliban snake and observe it writhing and lashing out at it’s masters.


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