The Taliban returned to power in August last year, routing government forces as the US-led military ended a 20-year occupation.

Pictures released by officials showed Taliban leaders gathered around a simple white brick tomb.
Pictures released by officials showed Taliban leaders gathered around a simple white brick tomb. (Taliban Government / AFP / AFP)

The Taliban has revealed the final resting place of the movement's founder, Mullah Omar, whose death and burial they kept secret for years.

Rumours surrounding Omar's health and whereabouts abounded after the Taliban were kicked out of power in 2001 by a US-led invasion, and they only admitted in April 2015 that he had died two years earlier.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP news agency on Sunday that senior leaders of the movement attended a ceremony at his gravesite earlier in the day near Omarzo, in Suri district of Zabul province.

"Since a lot of enemies were around and the country was occupied, to avoid damage to the tomb it was kept secret," Mujahid said.

"Only the close family members were aware of the place," he added.

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"Now the decision has been made... there are no issues for the people to visit the tomb," Mujahid said.

Omar, who was aged around 55 when he died, founded the Taliban in 1993 as an antidote to the internecine civil war that erupted following the decade-long Soviet occupation.

Omar's ceremony comes a day after provincial Taliban officials denied reports that the Panjshir Valley tomb of resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massoud had been vandalised, an act Mujahid said would be "punished" if true.

Massoud has a mixed legacy in the country, where he is hailed by ordinary Afghans for leading the resistance against the Soviet occupation, but loathed by the Taliban he also fought until his 2001 assassination by Al Qaeda.

His tomb is in an imposing granite and marble mausoleum overlooking the picturesque Panjshir Valley, and guarded by Taliban fighters since their takeover of the country in August last year.

Source: AFP