The spiritual leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar, is dead, Afghan officials and a person close to the group said Wednesday.
The group, which has allied with al Qaeda, was mulling a peace deal with the new Afghanistan government.
Though a Taliban spokesman could not be reached for immediate comment Wednesday, an Afghan official briefed on the matter said the Pakistani government informed Afghanistan that Mullah Omar had died two years ago.
Nonetheless, the death of Mullah Omar — who has not been publicly seen since the beginning months of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 — comes at difficult time for the Taliban movement. The group is deeply divided over whether it should purse peace talks with Kabul with the aim of ending the 14-year-war between the two.