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Does This Photo Show New Taliban Leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor?

A senior official from Afghanistan’s National Security Directorate said “it largely resembles some photos they have of Mullah Mansoor.”
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PESHAWAR, Pakistan — This picture obtained by NBC News purportedly shows the new leader of the Taliban.

The image of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor was provided by a senior Taliban figure on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release it. Its authenticity could not be independently verified by NBC News.

Mansoor is a former aviation minister in the Taliban regime. He was appointed Thursday following the apparent death of Mullah Omar, who sheltered al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden before and after the 9/11 attacks. The Afghan government believes Omar died in a Pakistani hospital two years ago.

Mansoor had been the organization's former second-in-command.

One Taliban official told NBC News on Thursday that Mansoor was much calmer than other of the group's senior figures.

"He has an extraordinary level of patience," he said. "He carefully listens to everyone and doesn't express any sign of anger on his face."

A senior Afghan intelligence told NBC News that they "cannot verify the authenticity of the photo, but it largely resembles some photos" the National Security Directorate has of Mullah Mansoor.

Omar's death ended years of rumor the one-eyed leader of the militant group that ruled Afghanistan until being toppled by U.S.-backed forces 2001 had passed away.

The State Department had offered a $10-million reward for information leading to him, saying Omar represented "a continuing threat to America and her allies."