PESHAWAR: Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, head of the Qatar political office of the Taliban, has pledged his allegiance to new Taliban chief Maulvi Haibatullah Akhunzada. An email, typed in Urdu and dated May 25, sent to journalists begins with a message of condolence to the late Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour’s family, Taliban fighters, the new leadership, the people of Afghanistan and the Muslim world. The letter does not explicitly say anything about the allegiance except for once mentioned in the subject line, “A condolence and allegiance message from the political office of the Emirate of Afghanistan”. The letter reads: “I and all members of the political office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, from the bottom of our hearts, extend our condolences to the family of Mullah Mansour, leadership, all other leaders, fighters, people of Afghanistan and the Muslim Ummah.” Stanikzai in his letter says the death of Mullah Mansour is an irreparable loss to the movement of the Taliban and adds that the “martyrdom” of the leader that was the wish of every Muslim would make the resolve of the fighters stronger. He said, “May the Almighty Allah give fortitude to the family of Mullah Mansour to bear this loss.” He lauded Mullah Mansour for his struggle and said his sacrifices would not be forgotten. Concluding his letter, Stanikzai expressed his resolve to continue the struggle to safeguard the national and Islamic values “as were done in the past”. After the succession of the new amir at the Taliban Shura meeting, Stanikzai is the first Taliban leader to pledge his allegiance to Maulvi Haibatullah.