Taliban say keeping leader's death secret was a military decision

By REUTERS
August 31, 2015 16:40

KABUL - Key Taliban members decided to keep the death of their leader a secret for more than two years because the war in Afghanistan was entering a critical phase and most foreign troops were preparing to withdraw at the time, the group said on Monday.

News of Mullah Omar's death leaked last month amid confusion over where and when the one-eyed militant leader died, but on Monday the Taliban for the first time revealed April 23, 2013 as the date of his death.

The announcement came in a document of nearly 5,000 words published on the Taliban's official website as an "introduction" to his successor, Mullah Mansour, a longtime deputy of the dead leader. His selection has been contested by senior members of the group.

The Taliban, who have not previously detailed the reason for the decision to keep Omar's death a secret, did not say who was party to the agreement.

"One of the main reasons was the fact that 2013 was considered the final year of power testing between the mujahidin and foreign invaders," the Taliban said in the document.



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