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Afghan Taliban announces new leadership

The Afghan Taliban have named Haibatullah Akhunzada their new leader, who is a former head of the group’s judiciary

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The Afghan Taliban have named Haibatullah Akhunzada their new leader, a spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday that gave the group's first official confirmation that former leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour had been killed in a U.S. drone strike.

Haibatullah is a former head of the Taliban's judiciary and was deputy to Mansour.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of a network blamed for many high-profile bombs attacks in Kabul in recent years, and Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of former leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, will serve as deputies, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban's main spokesman, said in the statement.

The Taliban is the most powerful anti-government group in Afghanistan, where an estimated 11,000 civilians were killed or wounded and 5,500 government troops and police officers died last year alone.

It seized power in 1996 and ruled Afghanistan until it was toppled by a US-led invasion after the September 11, 2001 attacks.