Taliban: We Were Hacked; Mullah Omar Is Alive
Death reports were fake, says spokesperson
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2011 9:44 AM CDT
This undated photo reportedly shows the Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar.   (AP Photo, File)
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(Newser) – Everyone's getting hacked these days—even the Taliban, apparently. A spokesperson in Afghanistan tells the AP and the Los Angeles Times that the group's leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, is alive—and that it was a hacker who sent out text messages, emails, and Internet postings announcing Omar's death early this morning. "He is overseeing operations in the country," says the spokesperson, who blamed US intelligence agencies for trying to "demoralize" the Taliban. "Outsiders must have hacked into Taliban phones and the website."

The messages appeared to have come from the spokesperson's own account. Soon after the apparently fake reports came out, Taliban spokesmen sent emails denouncing the "technical larceny" of a "cunning enemy" and noting that an investigation has been opened. The news comes as violence in Afghanistan has spiked during the process of transitioning security responsibilities from coalition forces to Afghan forces in seven areas. Insurgents, in an effort to convince Afghans that their own troops will not protect them, are targeting those transitional areas.