A picture has emerged of the new Taliban leader - it is not known where or when it was taken

The Afghan Taliban have announced a new leader to replace Mullah Akhtar Mansour who was killed in a US drone strike.

In a statement, the Taliban acknowledged Mansour’s death for the first time and named his successor as Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada.

Analysts say it is unlikely the group will change direction under hardline religious scholar Akhundzada.

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Last year the Taliban were plunged into turmoil when Mansour replaced the group’s founder Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Mansour was killed in a strike on his car in Pakistan’s Balochistan province on Saturday.

Under his stewardship, the Taliban refused to take part in peace talks. Instead, militant attacks escalated and became more daring.

Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada, a former head of the Taliban courts, was a deputy leader to Mansour.


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