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    Afghan alleged former Taliban fighters carry their weapons before handing them over as part of a government peace and reconciliation process at a ceremony in Jalalabad on February 24, 2016

    Taliban Confirms Leader's Death, Appoints Replacement

    © REUTERS/ Noorullah Shirzada
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    Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents confirmed the death of their leader and named his successor through the group’s spokesman on Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – US and Afghan officials said Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed mid-Saturday in a drone strike on a vehicle he was occupying en route to the Pakistani city of Quetta, Balochistan province. Mansour was picked to replace Taliban's previous leader in mid-2015.

    Zabiullah Mujahid, one of two Taliban’s spokesmen, issued a Pashto-language statement via Twitter in which he said "May Allah have mercy" on Mansour.

    The accompanying statement named Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada as the Taliban's new leader, and Sirajudddin Haqqani and Mullah Yaqoob as two of his deputies. Akhundzada is an Islamic religious scholar who headed the group's Sharia courts and is responsible for issuing most of Taliban's fatwas. His predecessor led the militants for less than a year. Yaqoob is the son of Mullah Omar, the founder of the extremist group, who was killed last year.

    Pakistani local residents gathering around a destroyed vehicle hit by a drone strike in which Afghan Taliban Chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour was believed to be travelling in the remote town of Ahmad Wal in Balochistan, around 160 kilometres west of Quetta
    © AFP 2017/
    Pakistani local residents gathering around a destroyed vehicle hit by a drone strike in which Afghan Taliban Chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour was believed to be travelling in the remote town of Ahmad Wal in Balochistan, around 160 kilometres west of Quetta

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    Taliban, Haibatullah Akhundzada, Mullah Akhtar Mansour
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