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Taliban’s Mullah Omar Is Dead, Circumstances Uncertain: White House

The White House on Friday said intelligence services have confirmed that Taliban leader Mullah Omar is dead, but the exact circumstances of his death remain unclear.

"It is clear that his demise, after decades of war and thousands of lives lost, represents a chance for yet more progress on the path to a stable, secure Afghanistan," the White House said in a statement.

The Afghan government on Wednesday announced the death of the Taliban’s longtime leader, and said he died in a hospital in Pakistan several years ago. The U.S. at one time offered a $10 million reward for information leading to Omar, saying he "represents a continuing threat to America and her allies."

Afghanistan Officials Say Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Is Dead 1:11

The Taliban on Friday said it appointed former aviation minister Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, 50, to lead the organization.

The Taliban, which has fought a long-running insurgency and staged recent terror attacks in the country in a bid to destabilize the government, had its first peace talks with Afghan officials earlier this month. A second round of talks were postponed after Omar’s death was made public.

The U.S. urged the Taliban to continue to negotiate with the Afghan government, headed by President Ashraf Ghani, who has staked his political future on convincing militants to lay down their arms.

"At this time of transition, the Taliban can choose to continue to fight their own people and destabilize their own country, or they can choose peace," the White House said.