“Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan rejects this baseless rumor with the strongest of words,” a statement on the Islamist group’s website said, using the name by which the Taliban often calls itself…

The White House itself was “skeptical” the letter was actually from Mullah Omar, the official said, though others within the administration believed it was authentic.

“Hoping for surrender from the Afghan people is an unrealistic wish and a goal which could not be achieved by America in the past ten years,” said Saturday’s statement, attributed to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.