"We confirm officially that he is dead." The "we" is Afghanistan's main intelligence agency. The "he" is Taliban supreme commander Mullah Omar. Afghan government sources told the BBC earlier today that the one-eyed leader, who had been in hiding since the 9/11 attacks, died two or three years ago. There have been previous reports of his death, but the National Directorate of Security has now confirmed to the AP that Mullah Omar died in a hospital in the Pakistani city of Karachi in April 2013.
A Western diplomat with connections to the Taliban leadership previously spoke with the AP about what Mullah Omar's death would mean: "If he is dead, it would be much more difficult to get negotiations with the Taliban because there would be no collective figure to rally around and take collective responsibility for entering peace talks." The news comes two days before the next round of talks between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives is due to be held in Pakistan. A senior government official confirmed the meeting will take place in the resort town of Murree, where the first round was held on July 7. (Read more Mullah Omar stories.)