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Zawahiri pledges allegiance to new Taliban chief

The authenticity of the recording could not be immediately verified, but it had all the stamps of an al Qaeda video

Published: Updated:

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has pledged allegiance to the new Afghan Taliban chief in an audio message posted online.

The pledge to Mullah Akhtar Mansour was issued by al-Qaeda's media arm al-Sahab and was Zawahiri's first message since September last year. Zawahiri offered his condolences.

Al-Qaeda and Zawahiri considered Mullah Omar to be the leader of the global jihadist movement. This was however contested by al-Qaeda's rival, the Islamic State (IS) militant group, which announced the establishment of a caliphate last year.

"We pledge our allegiance ... (to the) commander of the faithful, Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour, may God protect him," said Ayman al-Zawahiri, believed to be hiding in a border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan that is a militant bastion.

The authenticity of the recording could not be immediately verified, but it had all the stamps of an al Qaeda video.

With Reuters and AFP