Taliban excavates buried Toyota used by former leader to flee US invasion

Taliban excavates buried Toyota used by former leader to flee US invasion
‘This memorial [car]… should be kept in the country’s national museum’

Members of the Taliban have excavated a white Toyota used by founding leader Mullah Muhammad Omar to flee Kandahar after the US invasion in 2001.

The Toyota Wagon “has been dug up and will be cleaned,” said a spokesman, Muhammad Jalal.

He also released four photos of the dig showing the car, which has been buried at least 6ft underground for more than two decades in a field at an undisclosd location.

Mullah Omar, who presided over the Taliban’s fundamentalist regime, went into hiding in southern Afghanistan shortly after the US invaded the country in late 2001 and is said to have died in Pakistan in 2013.

Another Taliban figure said the vehicle should be kept in a museum.

“A man travelled in this car who took part in the most amazing events in history,” wrote Anas Haqqani, the brother of interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani in the interim government.

“He relied on God Almighty, he commanded (Taliban forces) in an unequal war against dozens of invading countries, and won. This memorial… should be kept in the country’s national museum,” Mr Haqqani said.

Mullah Omar gained prominence in Afghanistan after he fought the war against the Soviets alongside other young men of lesser tribes from southern Afghanistan.

He became easily identifiable after he lost his right eye in a shrapnel injury from the Soviets, which struck his face.

There are only two photos of the Taliban’s founding leader and no video messages in which he appeared, despite the wide use of the medium by the militant organisation.

It is suspected that he stayed in a safe house in Karachi and was seen chiefly as Taliban’s spiritual guide.