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Mullah Omar was treated by ISI

Mullah Omar, the elusive, one-eyed leader of the Afghan Taliban, had a heart attack January 7 and was treated for several days in a Karachi hospital with the help of Pakistan’s spy agency, according to a private intelligence network run by former CIA, State Department and military officers.

world Updated: Jan 20, 2011 07:43 IST

Mullah Omar, the elusive, one-eyed leader of the Afghan Taliban, had a heart attack January 7 and was treated for several days in a Karachi hospital with the help of Pakistan’s spy agency, according to a private intelligence network run by former CIA, State Department and military officers.

The intelligence network, operating under the auspices of a private company, “The Eclipse Group,” said its source was a physician in the Karachi hospital, which was not identified in the report, who said he saw Omar struggling to recover from an operation to put a stent in his heart.

“While I was not personally in the operating theater,” the physician reported, “my evaluation based on what I have heard and seeing the patient in the hospital is that Mullah Omar had a cardiac catheter complication resulting in either bleeding or a small cerebral vascular incident, or both.”

US officials said they could not immediately verify the report. “No one on this end has heard this,” said a US official from Kabul. “It doesn’t mean it’s not true — we just have no information to confirm or dispute these facts.”

On Tuesday Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, said the report “had no basis whatsoever.”

“Sometimes intelligence tips received by professionals turn out to be wrong. The story about Mullah Omar falls under that category. ”

The report said Omar was “rushed” to the hospital on January 7 by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

“The ISI rushed him to a hospital in Karachi, where he was given heparin (an anticoagulant) and operated on,” the Eclipse report said. “After 3-4 days of post-operative care in the hospital, he was released to the ISI and ordered to take absolute bed rest...”

Citing a separate source in the Quetta shura, the Taliban governing council on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, the Eclipse report said “Mullah Omar is continuing to improve and his speech is clearing.”

It also said the ISI was keeping Quetta shura “informed” about Omar’s recovery at “an ISI ‘guest house’ in Karachi under ISI guard.

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