Taliban releases audio of new leader

Kabul, Aug 1 (IANS) The Afghan Taliban on Saturday released an audio tape of Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansoor, who was elected the new leader of the insurgent group earlier this week.

The half an hour audio was sent to local media by Zabiullah Mujahid, a purported Taliban spokesman, who said the statement was delivered by Mansoor during an allegiance meeting held on Thursday, reported Xinhua news agency.

In his first statement, the new Taliban leader called for unity among Taliban members while urging his fighters to continue Jihad or holy war to re-establish Taliban’s Islamic Emirate.

However, the new Taliban leader did not rule out peace talks for reaching the goal.

On Thursday, a Taliban council appointed Mansoor the new leader to replace former Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

The statement came while the second round of peace talks between Taliban representatives and the Afghan government has been postponed due to the announcement of Mullah Omar’s death.

The first round of talks between the two sides was held in Pakistan last month and the delayed second round had been scheduled for July 31.

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