Hundreds of heavily armed Taliban fighters gathered in the open in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz to pledge an oath of allegiance to Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, the new emir of the group.
The Taliban released a video on Aug. 25 on its official website, Voice of Jihad, that showed the massing of jihadists in Kunduz and its leaders issuing lengthy speeches before pledging fealty to Mansour, who replaced Mullah Omar, the group’s founder and first leader. The video was “published by Al Emarah Studio, part of the Multimedia Branch of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s Cultural Commission,” the Taliban stated.
“A large number of Mujahid leaders, tribal elders, locals and ordinary Mujahideen in northern Kunduz province pledged their allegiance to the Islamic Emirate’s new Amir ul Mumineen, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour (HA), at the hands of the Jihadi in-charge [shadow governor] of Kunduz, Mullah Abdul Salam Akhond,” the Taliban said in the statement that accompanied the video.
Mullah Abdul Salam was one of several Taliban shadow governors who were detained by Pakistan in early 2010. He was later released and returned to Afghanistan and resumed his role as the Taliban’s governor for Kunduz.