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Taliban Denies Leader's Reported Heart Attack


Mullah Omar (file photo)

Mullah Omar (file photo)

The Taliban has denied reports that its leader, Mullah Omar, recently had a heart attack and was treated at a Pakistani hospital.

In a statement Thursday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahib said Omar is healthy and called the report a "rumor" created by the group's enemies.

Citing a report by a private network of U.S. intelligence agents, an online blog posting by The Washington Post said Omar had a heart attack on January 7 and was operated on at a Karachi hospital. It says he stayed there a few days for post-operative care and was released.

The report said Omar was taken to the hospital by members of Pakistan's ISI spy agency (Inter Services Intelligence agency).

According to the blog, the intelligence network said its source was a doctor in the Karachi hospital who said he saw Omar struggling to recover from an operation to put a stent in his heart.

Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani, dismissed The Washington Post blog report as baseless.

U.S. officials could not immediately verify the report.

For its information, the blog relied on "The Eclipse Group," a network of former CIA, State Department and military intelligence officers.

Mullah Omar, leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan, has been in hiding since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

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