Three of al Qaeda’s official branches have jointly published a eulogy for Mullah Mansour, the Taliban leader who was killed in an American drone strike on May 21. The statement of condolences is signed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and Al Nusrah Front.

The al Qaeda groups released the two page eulogy on their respective Twitter feeds and other social media sites on May 29. They praise Mansour at length, saying his jihad “began more than three decades ago” and he achieved “martyrdom at the hands of the Crusaders.” The statement’s authors praise Mansour as a worthy successor to Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s first emir. They also claim that Mansour was part of a long “succession of Muslim leaders and emirs from the dawn of Islam to the present day.”

The statement honoring Mansour is similar to the eulogy that was published for Mullah Omar.

On Aug. 5, 2015, the same three al Qaeda groups published a remembrance for Omar. Just days beforehand, the Taliban conceded that Omar died sometime in 2013. The al Qaeda branches praised the Taliban’s founder for refusing to turn over Osama bin Laden despite considerable international pressure both before and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. [See LWJ report, 3 al Qaeda branches issue joint eulogy for Mullah Omar.]

Osama bin Laden swore his own allegiance to Mullah Omar prior to Sept. 11, 2001. Ayman al Zawahiri, bin Laden’s replacement, also swore his fealty to Omar and then to Mullah Mansour.

By virtue of Zawahiri’s oath to the Taliban’s most senior leader, all of al Qaeda’s commanders and fighters are technically loyal to the Taliban’s chieftain as well.

The al Qaeda branches’ eulogy for Mansour does not say that the jihadists have sworn bay’ah (an oath of allegiance) to Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, who was quickly appointed as Mansour’s replacement. But this is not surprising.

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