When a drone strike killed Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour last week in Pakistan, analysts expected the Taliban to be plunged into a period of infighting as it sought to select a new leader.
Mansour, after all, had only recently been named the Taliban's leader, years after his predecessor had died.
The swiftness of naming Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada may speak to basic diplomacy, an effort to hold the Taliban's rank and file together. At times, the movement has strained under the weight of factions and tribes that have felt unrepresented or have shown signs of breaking away.
Seen as more teacher than a fighter, Akhundzada has gained respect and influence within the...