Ex­trem­ist ex­pected to con­tinue fight

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

The Afghan Tal­iban has ap­pointed a suc­ces­sor to leader Mul­lah Akhtar Man­sour, who was killed in a US drone strike last week.

In a state­ment sent to the me­dia, the Tal­iban said their new leader is Mul­lah Haibat­ul­lah Akhundzada, one of two of Man­sour’s deputies. The in­sur­gent group said he was cho­sen at a meet­ing of Tal­iban lead­ers, which was be­lieved to have been held in Pak­istan, but of­fered no other de­tails.

The an­nounce­ment came as a sui­cide bomber struck a minibus car­ry­ing court em­ploy­ees in the Afghan cap­i­tal, killing at least 10 peo­ple, an of­fi­cial said.

No one im­me­di­ately claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack.

Man­sour was killed in Pak­istan on Satur­day when his ve­hi­cle was struck by a US drone, an at­tack that is be­lieved to be the first time a Tal­iban leader was killed in such a way in­side Pak­istani ter­ri­tory.

The United States and the Afghan govern­ment have said that Man­sour had been an ob­sta­cle to a peace process, which ground to a halt when he re­fused to par­tic­i­pate in peace talks ear­lier this year. In­stead, he in­ten­si­fied the war in Afghanistan, now in its 15th year.

Se­nior Tal­iban fig­ures have said Man­sour’s death could strengthen the move­ment, as he was in some ways a di­vi­sive fig­ure.

His suc­ces­sor is a re­li­gious scholar, known for is­su­ing pub­lic state­ments jus­ti­fy­ing the ex­is­tence of the Tal­iban, their war against the Afghan govern­ment and the pres­ence of for­eign troops in Afghanistan.

His views are re­garded as hawk­ish, and he could be ex­pected to con­tinue in the ag­gres­sive foot­steps of Man­sour. Yes­ter­day’s state­ment said two new deputies had also been ap­pointed - both of whom had ear­lier been thought to be con­tenders for the top job.

BLAST: Scene of the drone strike

KILLED: Mul­lah Akhtar Man­sour

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.