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July 29, 2015

Afghan government investigating reports Mullah Omar is dead

The Afghan government is investigating reports that Mullah Omar, leader of the Afghan Taliban, is dead, a spokesman for the president's office said on Wednesday.

Afghan and Pakistani media reports this week said that the leader, who has not been seen in public since 2001, died about two years ago.

Some of the reports also indicated Mullah Omar's son was in a position to take over the Islamist insurgency that is fighting against Afghanistan's foreign-backed government.

The Taliban has been fighting an insurgency against the Western-backed government in Kabul since its ouster, killing thousands of civilians and security personnel and making significant territorial gains in recent months.

Tentative peace talks have begun aimed at ending the war, with the Taliban split between those who support dialogue and others who want to continue to fight for power.