Taliban’s New Leader Strengthens His Hold With Intrigue and Battlefield Victory

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KABUL, Afghanistan — If ever there was a Taliban bureaucrat who seemed set on a less than stellar career path, it was Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour.
In the 1990s, he was the Taliban government’s chief of aviation while Afghanistan had few planes in the air. He also oversaw the tourism department for what was one of the world’s most sealed-off countries at the time.