Meet the newest face of Islamic terror, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.
The terrorist that has emerged from the shadows as the Taliban’s newest leader — and seeks to unite the fractured Islamic extremist group.
The Afghan Taliban confirmed on Wednesday that their previous leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a U.S. drone strike last week and that Akhundzada has been chosen as a successor — a scholar known for extremist views who is unlikely to back a peace process with Kabul.
The announcement came as a suicide bomber struck a minibus carrying court employees in the Afghan capital, killing at least 11 people, an official said. The Taliban promptly claimed responsibility for the attack.
In a statement sent to the media, the Taliban said their new leader, Akhundzada, was chosen at a secret meeting of Taliban leaders, which is believed to have taken place in Pakistan, but offered no other details.
Mansour was killed in Pakistan on Saturday when his vehicle was struck by a U.S. drone plane, an attack believed to be the first time a Taliban leader was killed in such a way inside Pakistani territory.
Pakistani authorities have been accused both by Kabul and the West of giving shelter and support to some Taliban leaders — an accusation that Islamabad denies. The insurgents have been fighting to overthrow the Kabul government since 2001, when their own Islamist regime was overthrown by the U.S. invasion.
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 talks with the Afghan government earlier this year. Instead, he intensified the war in Afghanistan, now in its 15th year.
Mansour had officially led the Taliban since last summer, when the death of the movement’s founder, the one-eyed Mullah Mohammad Omar became public. But he is believed to have run the movement in Mullah Omar’s name for more than two years. The revelation of Mullah Omar’s death and Mansour’s deception led to widespread mistrust, with some senior Taliban leaders leaving the group to set up their own factions.
Some of these rivals fought Mansour’s men for land, mostly in the opium poppy-growing southern Taliban heartland.
Senior Taliban figures have said Mansour’s death — and Akhundzada’s appointment — could strengthen and unify the movement, as Mansour was in some ways a divisive figure. The identity of his successor was expected to be an indication of the direction the insurgency would take toward continued war.
Akhundzada is a religious scholar who served as the Taliban’s chief justice before his appointment as a deputy to Mansour. He is known for issuing public statements justifying the existence of the extremist 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.
He was close to Mullah Omar, who consulted with him on religious matters. A convincing orator, Akhunzada was born in Kandahar — the capital during the Taliban’s 1996-2001 regime.
A member of the Noorzai tribe, he is said to be aged around 50 years, and comes from a line of religious scholars. He leads a string of madrassas, or religious schools — figures in the Taliban say up to 10 — across Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province.
A former foreign minister under the Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Ghous, said that the choice of Akhundzada was “a very wise decision,” according to The Associated Press. Akhundzada was well respected among Taliban of all ranks, and could be a unifying force for the fractured movement, Ghous said.
Wednesday’s Taliban statement also said two new deputies to Akhundzada have been appointed — both of whom had earlier been thought to be the main contenders for the top job.
One of them is Sirajuddin Haqqani, who was also one of Mansour’s deputies and who leads the notorious Haqqani network — the faction behind some of the most ferocious attacks in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001. The other is the son of Mullah Omar, Mullah Yaqoub, who controls the Taliban military commissions for 15 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
Akhundzada’s appointment came as a surprise to some, including Ghous, who said that despite not being a top contender but a “third candidate,” the new leader would rise above any personal animosity or conflict that might have arisen should either Haqqani or Yaqoub have been chosen.
The Taliban statement called on all Muslims to mourn Mansour for three days, starting from Wednesday. It also attempted to calm any qualms among the rank and file by calling for unity and obedience to the new leader.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Obozo Obama says
Scum of the earth
Maybe Obama will salvage them like Isis
And blow there’ infrastructure up
Arthur Hartsock says
The Horn website should start a lottery in which people guess how long Akh****** has to live. Every entrant guesses the number of days and contributes $2. The winner takes half of the pot and the rest goes to Trump’s campaign. Is this possible, Mr. Horn?
This is the new #2 ENEMY OF THE UNITED STATES AND TOP OF THE HIT PARADE.
#1 ENEMY OF THE UNITED STATES CONTINUES TO OCCUPY OUR WHITE HOUSE. And, Congress continues to NOT DO THEIR JOB.
“PROTECT FROM ALL ENEMIES FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.”
Juan Two Three says
You’re SPOT-ON Marlene!
You’re next…….count on it.
Juan Two Three says
Right Arthur! Maybe our real patriotic military Generals will blow this c-sucker into millions of pieces too! Like they did with the other filthy towel-headed Muslim!!
r lawler says
So,..If we know this much about the Dirt Bag, why cant we ace the Bastard ?? What ever happened to “You can run, but you cannot Hide”?? I guess there’s an element in Washington, that does not want to hurt Muslims. Could that be possible ??? Really?? Hmmm.
American Citizen says
Looks like Hillary Clinton in disguise.
Richard B says
He looks like he could have been Obamas son, father, or favorite uncle.
Juan Two Three says
Richard: Or Obongoloid’s so-called wife!!
Look closely into those bloodshot, evil eyes of his. Too much opium or reading of the Koran, my guess.
Justin W says
The new Taliban leader has just had a target added to his back. I’m going to guess this scholar is about to get an education in how it feels to be on the receiving end of a US missile. Hopefully he will soon get to meet allah personally.
Alan Humphries says
Happy droning USAF. Can we see the pictures of the tiny pieces of body parts when this scum bag gets blown to bits?
FED UP says
One more goat eating raghead with his name on a Hellfire missile. SEMPER FI
FED UP says
One more goat eating rag head with his name on a Hellfire missile. SEMPER FI
Dan Spoonhour says
Historically, muslims have always hated the jews and anyone else who doesn’t follow their religion they call “infidels”; only to be beaten down once again until a later time in history where they, once again, raise their fists in definace of the world that doesn’t comply with their standards. Guess they will have to learn the hard way once more that they cannot force their beliefs on others without paying heavy price!
jim crawford says
so a drone was used to kill Mansour. Did the drone drop a bomb on him? Use a rocket? What did the drone use to kill him? I have long time wanting to know how a drone kills the unwanted scum the drone takes out.
This Mullah is the brother to Obama! Just a different mutha.
There was a reason Alexander the Great abandoned Afghanistan as part of his empire, but obviously we in the USSA empire will get to relearn it all over again. If the posters want to remain there let them volunteer themselves or their children if it is sooo vital.
Our real enemies are Within, mostly congregated in DC.
Not that I have any love for these barbaric moosies and their insane “religion”
Michael Valgos says
Hey make like a bowling, set them up, and we can knock them down. You know do you ever get tired of hearing about all of these seasoned Taliban fighters? What do they think of our fighters? We have to play by bullshit rules, when the other players have no rules. If we were allowed to go in, and take out these pieces of dog shit this would end soon. I am a disabled Marine veteran of 10 years, and I know the capabilities of our fighting forces. We are the best trained, the best armed, and best prepared military in the world, so let them do the job that they were trained to do. If these countries want us there, then we should not be impeded in preforming their their mission. If you are going to send people over there to get killed at least allow then to fight the same way the enemy does.
Napalm/Incindergel. Just do it.
Kind of looks like a love child of Obama and Hillary, don’t you think? By the way, where did they get the picture of him?
Lets get this damn battle over with , napalm the hell out of those assholes . This has gone on far too long , Kill all of clanton and obozos friends , if not he will bring more into OUR COUNTRY . The clantons and obamas have shown their colors and they sure aren’t the RED,WHITE,AND BLUE OF OLD GLORY . Let the Military waterboard their ass and they will tell everything . You could try truth serum but waterboarding would be a scarier thing to those two lying POS .
I can’t believe that person made this about raise and gender you have no idea I hope you understand and have educated your self about about what’s going on in the world and what’s to come if Hillary gets nominated. All I can say is Obama is they come had a package.