Taliban chief Mullah Muhammad Omar has been missing from his hideout in the Pakistani city of Quetta for the last two or three days, Afghanistan National Intelligence Agency spokesperson Lutfullah Mashal said on Monday. He also claimed that senior Taliban leaders have lost contact with Omar over the last few days. Earlier on Monday morning, officials of the Afghan security agency had reported assassination of the Taliban chief inside Pakistan. However, Mashal said that Omar’s death couldn’t be confirmed “until his body is found.” Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid has denied such reports, claiming that Omar is alive and actively leading his men against foreign forces in Afghanistan.
Since the death of Osama bin Laden, rumors have been circulating the media on who could be next. These reports would play an important role in the Afghan reconciliation process and in pressuring key leaders and stakeholders in reviewing their long-standing positions.