The leader of Al Qaeda’s South Asian branch was killed in a US-Afghan joint raid in southern Afghanistan last month, Afghan officials confirmed on Tuesday.
Asim Umar, who led Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) from its inception in 2014, was killed during a September 23 raid on a Taliban compound in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province.
He “was #killed along with six other AQIS members”, Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security said on Twitter, adding that Umar had been “embedded” with the Taliban.
The raid was part of a lengthy and confusing overnight operation on September 22-23 for which the US provided air support.
Authorities said they would investigate reports that 40 civilians, including children, were killed in an airstrike during the operation.
The NDS said that among the six other AQIS members killed in the raid was a man identified as “Raihan”, a courier for Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. US Forces-Afghanistan declined to comment. Under a stalled withdrawal plan negotiated between the US and the Taliban, Washington agreed to pull troops from Afghanistan if the insurgents abide by security guarantees and cut all ties with Al Qaeda.—Reuters