The U.S. drone strike that killed the Taliban’s leader has also set up a potential leadership struggle between two of the terror group’s up-and-comers — and may signal more attacks on Western targets.
When the Taliban issued a statement Wednesday confirming that its top man, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, was killed in a recent U.S. strike, it also announced a new leadership team.
The new Taliban number one was identified as Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, who had been a deputy to Mullah Mansour and is believed to be about 60 years old.
But perhaps more significant, according to a U.S. intelligence official, were the promotions of his two new deputies — Sirajuddin Haqqani and Mullah Muhammad Yaqoob.
Yaqoob is believed to be in his early to mid-twenties, but is the son of perhaps the Taliban’s most important leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, who disappeared several years ago. The Taliban confirmed Omar’s death last summer.
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