New Taliban leader calls for unity in ranks in first audio message
KABUL, Afghanistan – New Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor called for unity in the movement in his first audio message released Saturday, August 1, amid reports of rifts in their ranks following the announcement of the death of former chief Mullah Omar.
"We should all work to preserve unity, division in our ranks will only please our enemies, and cause further problems for us," he said in the recording released by the group.
In the 33-minute message, the new Taliban chief also says the insurgency will continue and advises his followers not to pay attention to rumours spread about the Taliban campaign.
Mansoor replaced Taliban founder Mullah Mohammed Omar, whose death was confirmed by the militants on Thursday, although the timing of his death is unclear. (READ: Taliban leader Mullah Omar's death: what now?)
"Our goal and slogan is to implement sharia and an Islamic system, and our jihad will continue until this is done," he said in the message.
The audio message from Mansoor also mentioned peace talks with the Afghan government, though it was not clear whether he supported them.
Kabul held talks last month with the Taliban in an attempt to work towards a peace process for the war-ravaged nation, though the second round of talks that had been expected in Pakistan on Friday was postponed following the announcement of the death of Mullah Omar. – Rappler.com