Al-Qaeda’s Ayman Al-Zawahiri has pledged allegiance to the new head of the Afghan Taliban in an audio on-line message. The move is seen politically to enhance the status of the new leader, (Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour), after the death of the Group’s founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, some two years ago. Al-Zawahiri stated, “We pledge our allegiance … (to the) commander of the faithful, Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour, may God protect him.” The move is seen as a way of shoring up the waning support for Al-Qaeda, a group which has largely lost traction and support to groups such as ISIS and local splinter extremist groups in countries across the Maghreb to the Middle East. The move is also meant to try and hold the group together as it started to splinter after the reported death of Mullah Omar.
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