The site of Mullah Omar’s final resting site was publicly disclosed by the Afghan Taliban on Sunday after being kept hidden for years following his death and burial.
After a US-led operation forced the Taliban out of power in 2001, there were several rumours about Omar’s condition and location; the Taliban didn’t acknowledge his death until April 2015, two years after it had occurred.
Senior members of the movement attended a ceremony at his grave earlier in the day near Omarzo, in the Suri district of Zabul province, according to Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid on Sunday.
In August of last year, the Taliban seized control once more, defeating government forces as the US-led military that had supported the regime ended a 20-year occupation.
Taliban leaders may be seen gathered around a simple white brick tomb that was covered in what seemed to be gravel and contained in a green metal cage in photos released by the officials.
The decision has been taken, thus there are no longer any barriers for people to visit the grave, according to Mujahid.
Omar, who was about 55 years old when he passed away, started the Taliban in 1993 as a response to the brutal civil war that broke out after the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan for 10 years.
Under his leadership, the Taliban imposed an exceedingly strict form of the Islamic law that forbade women from participating in public life and introduced harsh public punishments, such as public hangings and public executions.
Omar’s ceremony takes place a day after regional Taliban officials refuted rumours that the mausoleum of resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massoud in the Panjshir Valley had been vandalised. Mujahid said that if the reports were accurate, the act would be “punished.”
Having led the war against the Soviet occupation, Massoud is revered by ordinary Afghans but despised by the Taliban, against whom he also fought until his death by al Qaeda in 2001.
Since the Taliban took control of the country in August of last year, his grave has been protected by Taliban fighters in a magnificent granite and marble mausoleum overlooking the picturesque Panjshir Valley.
Locals said that a newly arrived unit of fighters smashed the tombstone, and video of the desecrated grave — which could not be verified — was extensively shared on social media.