Mullah Akhtar Mansoor appointed new Taliban chief
KABUL (Pajhwok): Following reports of Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar’s death, the movement's council on Thursday unanimously elected Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as its new leader, Pakistani media reported on Thursday.
However, the Taliban have not yet officially announced their new leader, with formal announcement expected sometime today. Mansoor served as aviation minister during the Taliban regime.
Mansoor was the likely successor along with Mullah Baradar Akhund of the deceased Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar. Earlier, it was speculated in the Taliban circle that Mansoor’s position had been widely damaged for spreading news of Mullah Omar’s death.
A statement from the Presidential Palace said: “The government of Afghanistan believes that the ground for the Afghan peace talks is more paved now than before, and thus calls on all armed opposition groups to seize the opportunity and join the peace process.”
On Wednesday, Syed Zafar Hashmi, the president’s deputy spokesman, told a crowded press conference here they had received information regarding the demise of Mullah Omar through media sources.
As and when confirmed, he promised, the government would share accurate information with media and the Afghan nation. He said they were still in the process of looking at the reports.
Later, a press statement from the Presidential Palace in Kabul stated: "The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, based on credible information, confirms that Mullah Mohammad Omar, leader of the Taliban died in April 2013 in Pakistan."
Fidaee Mahaz, a Taliban splinter group, claimed the death of Mullah Omar in a statement last week. It stated the reclusive Taliban supremo had died two years back and buried in southern Zabul province.
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