Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al Qaeda, has pledged allegiance to the new Afghan Taliban leader in a video message posted online. Haibatullah Akhundzada, the new Taliban chief, took over the group last month after the Taliban’s former leader was killed in a U.S. drone strike. Since then, the group has been rapidly escalating attacks in Afghanistan. Zawahiri has now vowed to be loyal to Akhundzada in “jihad to liberate every inch of the lands of the Muslims that are invaded and stolen,” according to the video.
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