File - This July 27, 2011, image from a web posting by al-Qaida's media arm, as-Sahab, provided by IntelCenter, shows al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri. (AP Photo/IntelCenter)
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Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, in an online audio message, pledged allegiance to the new head of the Afghan Taliban, who was appointed last month after his predecessor was killed in a U.S. drone strike.The veteran Islamist militant became al-Qaeda's leader after U.S. Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011, and he is thought to be hiding in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, having been based there since the late 1990s. Haibatullah Akhundzada, Islamic legal scholar who was one of former leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour's deputies, was appointed a few days after Mansour was killed by a U.S. drone attack in a remote border area just inside Pakistan.
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