Reports that Taliban chief Mullah Omar has died are “credible”, the White House said today.
“We are aware of reports of the death of Mullah Omar. Without commenting on the specifics of these reports, we do believe the reports of his death are credible,” White House spokesperson Eric Schultz told reporters.
But Schultz said he would not be drawn into details.
“Beyond that, I’m not going to be in a position to comment on the specifics surrounding his death,” he said.
The spokesperson said the US intelligence community is looking at the reports and “continues to assess the circumstances around his death.”
The United States, he said, believes the Taliban has an opportunity to make genuine peace with the Afghan government and rebuild their lives in peace in Afghanistan.
“They can accept the government of Afghanistan’s invitation to join a peace process and ultimately become part of the legitimate political system in Afghanistan, or they can choose to continue fighting Afghans and destabilising their own country,” he said.
“The United States does continue to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process. It’s the surest way to end violence in the region,” Schultz said.
Earlier, the Afghan government announced that Omar died in Pakistan in April 2013, “confirming” reports about the one-eyed extremist leader who ruled the violence-torn country with an iron fist between 1996 and 2001.