For The Irish Times , this story began with a note in a book, about an Irishman who had died fighting in 1980s Afghanistan. Foreign Correspondent MARY FITZGERALD traced his origins to a terraced house in Clonmel, where a father still grieves for John Burke, Tipperary man and Ireland’s only known jihadi ‘martyr’
On a Sun-Bleached plain some 30km from the city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan lies what is believed to be the final resting place of the only Irish person known to have died in the cause of jihad. As is the custom in that part of the world, his is a simple grave, its boundaries marked by a circle of stones. It is also anonymous; there is no headstone or plaque to tell what few travellers may pass by this remote spot that here lies Muhammad Omar, born John Gerard Burke in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, in October 1962; died April 1989.
There are several accounts of the circumstances surrounding his death.