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Al-Qaeda Leader Declares Loyalty To New Afghan Taliban Leader

Ayman al Zawahri
Ayman al Zawahri

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri pledged the group's allegiance to the new head of the Afghan Taliban, showing the organization's stance on the Taliban leader’s disputed accession.

Zawahiri made the pledge to Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansur in an audio statement posted online.

Zawahiri is thought to be seeking refuge in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area where the Afghan Taliban has a strong presence.

The declaration from Zawahiri comes after some Taliban factions have split from Mansur and declared loyalty to the Arab leadership of the Islamic State militant group and engaged in battles against fighters who remain loyal to Mansur.

Mansur was named as the new Afghan Taliban leader after the 2013 death of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar was confirmed in July.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP