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Wednesday 9 October 2019

Al Qaeda Leader May Be Killed in September


KABUL (Reuters) — Afghanistan’s intelligence service said that a top al Qaeda militant commander was among those killed during an operation last month in Helmand province that also caused civilian deaths at a wedding party.

Asim Omar, a Pakistani national, and the leader of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), was killed in the Musa Qala district of Helmand on September 23, the Afghan National Directorate of Security, (NDS) the country’s intelligence agency said on Twitter on Tuesday.

At least 40 people, including 12 children, were killed during the joint U.S.-Afghan operation, which occurred days after an American drone strike aimed at militants hiding among farmers killed 32 pine nut harvesters. Afghan officials said a house being used by Taliban insurgents to train suicide bombers was located adjacent to the bride’s home that came under fire during the night raid.

The NDS said that six other militants, including Raihan, who was identified by only one name, were also killed during the raid. The agency said Raihan was Omar’s courier to al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Taliban dismissed the al Qaeda deaths and said the Afghan government is trying to hide the fact that its operations killed civilians.

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