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Report: Taliban say Mullah Omar healthy

Jan. 20, 2011 at 1:42 AM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, reported to have suffered a heart attack, is "quite healthy," Pakistan's News International said, quoting the group.

Reports have said the fugitive, believed based in Pakistan's border city of Quetta with protection from the military, had suffered a heart attack and been hospitalized in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi.

"Mullah Sahib is quite healthy and safe and sound," the News International quoted a senior Taliban commander as saying. "Even if he falls ill there is no question that media and the people would come to know about it."

An organization run by former CIA agents and military officers originally reported Omar suffered a heart attack Jan. 7 and was admitted to a Karachi hospital, Britain's Daily Telegraph said Thursday.

Pakistan's Dawn newspaper quoted Husain Haqqani, Pakistani ambassador to the United States, as saying: "Sometimes intelligence tips received by professionals turn out to be wrong. The story about Mullah Omar falls under that category."

The Telegraph report said after a few days of post-operative care, the Karachi hospital released him to Pakistani intelligence, which was keeping the Quetta shura, the Taliban's governing body, informed by Omar's recovery.

A U.S. official in Kabul was quoted as telling The Washington Post while no one in the Afghan capital had heard about Omar, it did not mean the reports were untrue.

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