Taliban founder's Toyota Corolla dug up after spending 21 years buried
Afghanistan's National Museum will soon welcome an unusual new exhibit: an E100-generation Toyota Corolla station wagon that has been buried since 2001. The car was used by Mullah Mohammad Omar, the founding leader of the Taliban, to flee American troops in 2001.
Omar relied on his humble corolla to flee the city of Kandahar and flee to Zabul province shortly after the United States sent troops into Afghanistan in the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks, according to NBC. While parking the car in a garage would have been easier than digging a car-sized hole, the Taliban leader feared that if they found his car, American soldiers would know where to find him. As a result, he wrapped it in plastic and buried it next to a mud wall in a location that was kept secret until recently.
Taliban forces decided to exhume the Corolla in July 2022, some 10 years after Omar's death, to show her strength after American troops withdrew from Afghanistan. Photos posted to Facebook by Pakistan-based page Karachi Track suggest the Corolla has done surprisingly well. It's still wrapped in plastic and "mostly undamaged," according to a social media post, though one of the wing mirrors was broken. Crews work to clean the Corolla and it eventually goes on display at the Afghanistan National Museum.
Not every car that is buried (for whatever reason) stays as intact as Omar's Corolla. In 2020, a Brit discovered a 1950s Ford Popular 103E buried in his garden while building a patio. It was brought there as a time capsule in 1964 after a mechanic wrote it off, and spent almost 60 years underground in a terrible state. We don't know what happened to it, but it doesn't sound like it went to a museum.
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