Mullah Omar, the elusive, one-eyed leader of the Afghan Taliban, had a heart attack Jan. 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.”
U.S. officials said they could not immediately verify the report. A spokesman at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.
"No one on this end has heard this," said a U.S. official from Kabul. "It doesn't mean it's not true -- we just have no information to confirm or dispute these facts."
The report also said Omar was “rushed” to the hospital on Jan. 7 by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
The physician who was the source for the report said that,
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 the Quetta shura “informed” about Omar’s recovery at “an ISI ‘guest house’ in Karachi under ISI guard.”
The Eclipse Group is run by Duane “Dewey” Clarridge, a former head of the CIA's Latin American operations who was the first chief of the CIA's counterterrorism center; Kim Stevens, a retired U.S. diplomat who served in Bolivia and Italy; and Brad A. Patty, a former U.S. Army Special Forces information operations specialist in Iraq.
The Eclipse Group’s reports are available “by invitation only” on its Web site, Stevens said.
By all appearances, the Eclipse network is the just the latest iteration of a shadowy, Pentagon-backed operation that began contracting with former CIA and military operatives to supply intelligence in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009. Amid adverse publicity last year, the Pentagon supposedly cut off its funding.
Stevens declined to discuss The Eclipse Group’s financing, except to say it has “no DoD clients …”