Taliban reveals founder Mullah Omar's burial place 9yrs after death
The Taliban on Sunday disclosed its founder Mullah Omar's final resting place, which was kept secret for over nine years since his death in 2013, reported AFP. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP the movement's senior leaders also attended a ceremony at Omar's gravesite near Omarzo in Zabul province's Suri district. His tomb's location was reportedly kept secret to avoid any damage to it.
Why does this story matter?
- Omar reportedly died in 2013, aged 55. However, the Taliban didn't admit it until two years later.
- The information about his death remained undisclosed until July 2015, and the Taliban kept releasing statements in his name throughout this period.
- Reportedly, his refusal to help extradite al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden triggered the United States to invade Afghanistan in 2001, which overthrew the Taliban government.
Tomb kept secret to avoid damage: Mujahid
On keeping Omar's burial place a secret, Mujahid told AFP, "Since a lot of enemies were around and the country was occupied, to avoid damage to the tomb, it was kept secret." "Only the close family members were aware of the place. Now the decision has been made... There are no issues for the people to visit the tomb," he added.
Afghan crisis since Taliban takeover
To recall, the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan by routing Ashraf Ghani's government in August 2021 after the US decided to withdraw troops after almost 20 years. The Taliban takeover also triggered a massive refugee crisis as many Afghans fled the country. Earlier, the United Nations (UN) said 20 million Afghans were facing acute hunger, as per analyses conducted after the government change.
Who was Mullah Omar?
Omar was an Islamic revolutionary who founded the Taliban movement in 1994. Later, he served as the emir of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan till 2001, an Islamic state established after the fall of Kabul in 1996. Under his leadership, the Taliban introduced the austerest version of Islamic rule, restricting women from public life and implementing harsh public punishments like flogging, executions, etc.
Taliban founder's getaway car found earlier
Earlier this year, Omar's old Toyota Corolla Wagon, which he reportedly used to travel to Zabul from Kandahar during the beginning of the United States-led 2001 invasion, was also dug up. Pictures from the excavation site showed the car covered in a plastic sheet and dirt. Interior Ministry official Maulvi Arifullah, at the time, had said the car would be moved to a museum.
Take a look at Omar's old car
Toyota Wagon belonging to the founder of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, late Mullah Muhammad Umar Mujahid has been dug up and will be cleaned. This Toyota wagon was used by the late Amir to travel from Kandahar to Zabul province during the start of US led invasion. pic.twitter.com/rvEPuvrpxD— Muhammad Jalal (@MJalal700) July 5, 2022
Taliban previously published Omar's biography too
Interestingly, while his death was still kept a secret, the Taliban released a biography of the movement's founder to celebrate his "19th year as their supreme leader" in 2015. Considered one of the most significant figures in Afghanistan, Omar is seen as a freedom fighter, who played a significant role in defending Islamic principles in Afghanistan against Western culture, by the Taliban.