Kabul: The Taliban on Monday admitted covering up longtime leader Mullah Omar’s death for two years, saying they had wanted to keep it secret until foreign forces ended their fight against the militants. The group confirmed in July that Omar had died without saying when, deepening internal divisions with many insurgents accusing the leadership of keeping them in the dark while issuing statements in his name. The admission of a cover up was buried in a lengthy biography of new Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour, apparently published to boost his image and quell the growing internal rancour over his appointment.

Posted on the Taliban website in five languages, the biography acknowledged that Omar died in April 2013 — as was first claimed by Afghan intelligence. “Several key members of the supreme leading council of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) and authentic religious scholars together decided on concealing the tragic news of passing away of (Omar)… and keep this secret limited to the very few colleagues who were already informed of this incorrigible loss,” said the biography, which ran to nearly 5,000 words.

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