Afghans mourned the country’s first post-communist president, Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, at a ceremony Wednesday attended by his former comrades-in-arms, including his one-time spokesman and protégé, former President Hamid Karzai.
The ceremony at Afghanistan’s presidential palace was a solemn affair, with Mojaddedi’s coffin draped in a giant green shawl emblazoned with versus from the Quran, Islam’s holy book, and later the Afghan flag. Mojaddedi died early Tuesday.
President Ashraf Ghani extolled Mojaddedi’s contributions to evicting Soviet forces from Afghanistan in the 1980s, saying “his death has saddened the entire nation.”
Mojaddedi was the first president following the withdrawal of Soviet troops and the 1992 collapse of Kabul’s pro-communist government.
A second service is to be held later Wednesday in Kabul’s sports stadium for the general public.