Taliban Announces New Leader
The Afghan Taliban named Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada as the new leader of the militant group following the death of former leader Mullah Mansour.
Mansour was killed by a US drone strike on his car in Pakistan’s Balochistan province on Saturday.
The Taliban group confirmed the death of Mansour and immediately the extremist organization appointed a new chief from the core leadership in Quetta, Pakistan.
The group issued a statement saying, “Haibatullah Akhundzada has been appointed as the new leader of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) after a unanimous agreement in the shura (supreme council), and all the members of shura pledged allegiance to him.”
Mansour as Taliban Leader
The former leader led the militant group in July 2015. He was named as successor of the group following the death of Taliban founder and spiritual head Mullah Mohammad Omar.
The US and Afghan governments said Mansour refused to participate in talks to end the surge of insurgency that has been tormenting Afghanistan. Instead of participating in a peace process, Mansour intensified the war in Afghanistan.
Who is Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada?
Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada is a former Taliban chief justice and heads the religious Ulema council. The new leader is from southern Kandahar province in Afghanistan.
According to the BBC, the new leader is a prominent religious scholar and the deputy of the killed leader Mansour.
The new leader is believed to be between 45 and 50 years of age. Many described him as more of a religious leader than a military chief.
Experts say the new leader lived most of his life inside Afghanistan with no evidence of traveling outside his country. He is believed to have a close link with Afghan Taliban leaders who are in the Pakistani city of Quetta or popularly known as Quetta Shura.
The Taliban militant group has made headlines for its terrorism-related activities including suicide bombings and waging war within Afghanistan.