Afghan Taliban appoints new leader

The Afghan Taliban have appointed Akhtar Mohammad Mansour as the new leader of the insurgency

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The Taliban on Thursday confirmed the death of their leader Mullah Omar in a statement, a day after it was announced by the Afghan government.

“The leadership of the Islamic Emirate and the family of Mullah Omar... announce that leader Mullah Omar died due to a sickness,” a Taliban statement said, using the movement’s official name.

The news comes after the Afghan Taliban appoint Akhtar Mohammad Mansour as the new leader of the insurgency.

Two Afghan commanders present at a meeting of the militant movement’s most senior figures made the unofficial announcement on Thursday.

“The Shura held outside Quetta unanimously elected Mullah Mansour as the new emir of the Taliban,” said one commander who attended the Wednesday night meeting. “The shura will release a statement shortly.”

The Afghan government announced on Wednesday that Omar had died more than two years ago.
A second round of peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban militants due to be held in Pakistan has been postponed due to the reports of Omar’s death, the Pakistani foreign office said Thursday.

“In view of the reports regarding the death of Mullah Omar and the resulting uncertainty, and at the request of the Afghan Taliban leadership, the second round of Afghan peace talks, which was scheduled to be held in Pakistan on 31 July 2015, is being postponed,” the statement said.

(With Reuters)

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