THE Taliban has accused American phone hackers of sending a fake text message to media organisations saying the group’s leader Mullah Omar is dead.
Rumours spread that Omar had died when a text message allegedly sent from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid’s phone said: “Leadership council of IEA (Islamic emirate of Afghanistan) announces that Ameer-ul-Mumineen (Mullah Omar) has passed away. May mighty God bless him.”
The message was sent to journalists today.
Mujahid later denied sending the message, which he said was fake and the result of a phone hack.
“We strongly reject this claim. We are not aware of such news. Americans have hacked our cellphones with advanced technology and sent the message to the media,” Mujahid said.
A second spokesman, Qari Yosuf Ahmadi, also said phones had been hacked.
“That’s a false message. The Westerners hacked into our cellphones and sent the message from our numbers to everyone. They want to deceive the Afghan people. It’s wrong. He is not dead and is alive,” said Ahmadi.
The deputy chief of intelligence for the southern city of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban and an ongoing hotspot of insurgent activity, said the National Directorate for Security (NDS) had no reports of Omar’s death.
“We have received reports a message has been spread by the Taliban about Mullah Omar’s death but our intelligence sources as well as the government have not received any official confirmation of his death,” said Abdul Wahab Salih.