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An Afghan official has announced there is to be a news conference on the subject of the possible death of Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader later on Wednesday. It follows speculation that he has been dead for some time.
According to a spokesman for the president's office, the Afghan government is investigating Afghan and Pakistani media reports that the Taliban leader died about two years ago.
Mullah Omar is the commander and the spiritual leader of the Taliban. He was Afghanistan's 11th head of state from 1996 to late 2001 under the official title "Head of the Supreme Council."
Two weeks ago, Omar appeared to be giving his consent to tentative peace talks between Taliban cadres and Afghanistan held on July 7.
But Omar has not been seen in public since 2001, leading to speculation that he has been dead for some time.
ng/jil (Reuters, AFP, dpa)