The Taliban has admitted that it covered up the death of its leader Mullah Mohammad Omar for more than two years, confirming that he died in 2013 as was first claimed by Afghanistan’s intelligence.
The militant group had continued issuing statements until as recently as July in the name of Mullah Omar, who had not been seen in public since the Taliban were toppled from power in Kabul in late 2001.
The Taliban statement on August 31 gave an exact date for Mullah Omar’s death for the first time, saying he died on April 23, 2013.
The detail was buried in a biography of the new Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansur.
It said "several key members of the supreme leading council" of the Taliban and religious scholars "together decided on concealing" Mullah Omar’s death and keeping the secret limited to his innermost circle.
It said a main reason for the decision was NATO's announcement that it would conclude combat missions in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
With reporting by AFP