Statement by the Press Secretary on the Death of Mullah Mohammed Omar
The U.S. Intelligence Community assesses that Mullah Mohammed Omar, the former leader of the Afghan Taliban, is dead. While the exact circumstances of his death remain uncertain, 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.
This comes on the heels of key milestones. In last year’s Afghan election, President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah honored the efforts of millions of Afghan voters by ensuring the first peaceful and democratic transfer of power in the nation’s history. At year’s end, President Obama ended the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan, bringing the longest war in American history to a responsible conclusion. But Afghanistan remains a dangerous place, and the Afghan people still suffer from a brutal insurgency that continues to take innocent lives and hinder Afghanistan’s prospects for peace. 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. We encourage the Taliban to heed President Ghani’s call for reconciliation and make genuine peace with the Afghan Government. We and our international partners will continue to support President Ghani, the National Unity Government, and an Afghan-led reconciliation process as we work together to improve Afghanistan’s security, continue to target terrorists, and preserve the gains we have made together over the last 13 years.