Taliban names new leader to replace Mansour

By Shawn Price

KABUL, Afghanistan, May 25 (UPI) -- The Taliban on Tuesday announced a new leader to replace Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike.

The Islamic militant group named Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada to replace Mansour, who replaced the group's founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, just last year.


Akhundzada was a Taliban deputy leader and religious scholar who formerly ran the Taliban courts.

Mansour was killed in a drone strike on his car in Pakistan's Balochistan province on Saturday. Mansour was seen as obstacle to peace negotiations in Afghanistan and as a militant who only escalated attacks.

The rise of Mansour was seen by experts as something of a coup, which has since lead to heavy infighting between the group's factions. But Akhundzada carries with him largely religious credentials and was the man who issued fatwas justifying various operations.

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