The death of the Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, would be a serious blow for the insurgent group.
It would not automatically mean the end of fighting in Afghanistan, but it would open a new chapter in the history of the group, which is facing a crisis of leadership.
A number of traditional high ranking Taliban militants with potential to lead the group and keep it united have either died of natural causes or were killed over the past 15 years.
If his death is confirmed, who might take over? A faction within the Taliban would like Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the eldest son of Taliban founder and spiritual head Mullah Omar, to take over.
His son is believed to be about 27 years old and was appointed by Mullah Mansour in April 2016 as military commander of 15 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, and is a member of the group’s powerful decision-making body, the Leadership Council.
Other leading figures might favour Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a founding member of the Taliban and Mullah Omar’s former deputy, who has been held by Pakistan since 2010.
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