Afghan Taliban announce new leader

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The Afghan Taliban have announced a new leader to replace Mullah Akhtar Mansour who was killed in a US drone strike.

In a statement, the Taliban acknowledged Mansour’s death for the first time and named his successor as Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada.

Mansour was killed in a strike on his car in Pakistan’s Balochistan province on Saturday.

He took over the militant group in July 2015, replacing Taliban founder and spiritual head Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, a religious scholar and former head of the Taliban courts, was one of the Afghan Taliban’s deputy leaders.

“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,” the Taliban said in a statement.

It also said that Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of Mullah Omar, would become a joint deputy head of the movement, alongside current deputy leader Sirajuddin Haqqani.

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