Live updates

'Credible information' confirms Taliban leader's death

Mullah Mohammad Omar has not been seen since 2001 Credit: Reuters

The Afghanistan Government is convinced that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar died two years ago and has called on all opposition parties to embrace new peace talks.

A statement from the presidential palace in kabul said: "The government ... based on credible information, confirms that Mullah Mohammad Omar, leader of the Taliban died in April 2013 in Pakistan."

"The government of Afghanistan believes that grounds for the Afghan peace talks are more paved now than before, and thus calls on all armed opposition groups to seize the opportunity and join the peace process."

Advertisement

Taliban leader died two years ago, says spy agency

The Taliban's leader Mullah Mohammad Omar died two years ago in a Pakistani hospital, Afghanistan's intelligence agency has claimed.

The statement by National Directorate of Security spokesman Hasib Sediqi came after the Afghan government said it was investigating reports of Omar's death, just days ahead of an expected second round of peace talks with the Taliban.

The NDS has previously said privately that its intelligence indicated Omar was dead, but it has not provided proof.

Pakistan suspicious over reports of Taliban leader death

Reports that Mullah Mohammad Omar have been met with scepticism in the Pakistan military ahead of with peace talks with the Afghan government.

Mullah Mohammad Omar went into hiding after 911 Credit: Reuters

A senior official from the Pakistani military, which historically has close ties to the Afghan Taliban and other Islamist militant groups in the region, said he could not confirm Omar's death.

"It is worth asking why this news has come out now, when we are two days away from the second round of peace talks," said the official.

"Especially in light of reports that he died two years ago... why is this news being released now? It raises questions about the intentions of people who don't want talks to go forward."

Afghanistan 'assessing' reports Taliban leader is dead

The Afghanistan government has said it is investigating reports that the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar is dead.

Mullah Mohammad Omar has not been seen since 2001 Credit: Reuters

In a press conference in Kabul, a Government spokesman said: "We are still in the process of assessing those reports."

The announcement followed reports in Afghan local media that Omar, who has not been since 2001, was dead but have died as long as 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.

Omar went into hiding 14 years ago after his government was forced from power by the US-led Coalition following the 911 attacks in the USA.

The Taliban has yet to comment on the claims.

Advertisement

Top IS commander killed in eastern Afghanistan drone strike

The Afghan intelligence agency confirmed a third top Islamic State commander was killed in a drone strike in eastern Afghanistan this week.

Shahidullah Shahid, a former member of the Pakistani Taliban who defected to the Islamic State and was operating in Afghanistan, was killed along with five militants, an official said.

An increasing number of militants are pledging allegiance to the Islamic State in Afghanistan, making them a target of deadly strikes there by the U.S. unmanned aircraft.

Explosion and gunfire heard outside Afghan parliament

A loud explosion followed by gunfire has been heard outside the Afghan parliament in Kabul, witnesses have said.

Explosions and gunfire have been heard outside the Afghan parliament. Credit: ITV News

Social media reports suggested the parliament was "under siege" and that multiple explosions had been heard.

Police confirmed that four bombs had been set off outside the parliament building and that the Taliban had claimed responsibility.

Television footage showed politicians being evacuated from the building during the attack, while pictures posted to Twitter showed smoke rising near the area.

It is not immediately clear whether there are any casualties.

Load more updates