It only took the Taliban four days to acknowledge the death of Mullah Mansour and appoint a new successor, Hibatullah Akhundzada. Many have theorized this quick turn around as a tactic to prevent further infighting among the Taliban. When Mullah Omar died, it took the Taliban 2 years to appoint Mansour. There is still at least one splinter group that opposed Mansour and now opposes Akhundzada, it is a group headed by Mullah Mohammad Rasul. They claim that their main objection is the lack of process and consensus. However, Mullah Rasul has been in direct competition with Mansour for access to the drug smuggling routes .

In this video below, Taliban members and leaders are reportedly pledging their allegiance to the new Emir.

We know only limited information about the new leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada due to his reclusive tendencies. He rarely travels and doesn’t like to use technology. The information that we do know is a stark contrast from Mansour. When Hibatullah Akhundzada served as Mansour’s deputy, it almost seems as if he somewhat balanced the core leadership. Mansour was charismatic and the proven fighter, while Akhundzada is the conservative religious scholar. Akhundzada’s deputies, Mullah Yaqub, the elder son of Mullah Omar and  Sirajuddin Haqqani, are also proven fighters which may help to offset his lack of experience on the battlefield. However, a Taliban commander reportedly stated that Haqqani and Yaqoub, have already “divided Afghanistan into two parts” and each wants to control his own section. Mullah Akhundzada has been described as very similar to Mullah Omar, but will it be enough to maintain power and control over his two ambitious deputies?