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Taleban excavate ex-leader’s ‘getaway car’

KANDAHAR (AFP) – The car used by Taleban founder Mullah Omar to escape being targetted by United States (US) forces after the 9/11 attacks has been excavated in eastern Afghanistan, where it lay buried for more than two decades, officials said.

The white Toyota Corolla was buried in a village garden in Zabul province by former Taleban official Abdul Jabbar Omari, who ordered it to be dug up this week.

“It is still in good condition, only its front is a bit damaged,” Director of Information and Culture of Zabul province Rahmatullah Hammad told AFP.

“This vehicle was buried by the mujahideen as a memorial to Omar in 2001 to avoid it being lost,” he said.

Taleban media officials published pictures of the car being dug from its vehicular grave by men using hand shovels.

The Taleban want the car to be displayed in the capital’s national museum as a “great historical monument”, Hammad added.

The Taleban were formed in Kandahar by Mullah Omar, who led the hardline extremist movement to power in 1996 after a bloody civil war, and imposed a strict interpretation of religious law on the country.

Afghanistan then became a sanctuary for extremist groups, including Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, the architects of the September 11 attacks.