Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Al-Qaeda's Indian subcontinent chief Asim Umar killed in Afghanistan

Asim Omar chief of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent killed in joint US-Afghan operation Asim Omar released by Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security. | NDS Afghanistan Twitter
Patty Aguilar | 09 October, 2019, 10:11

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said Asim Omar, a leader of the network operating on the Indian subcontinent, and other members were killed in the Musa Qala district of Helmand, a main bastion of Taliban insurgents.

Most of those who died were women and children, Helmand's Deputy Provincial Councilman Abdul Majed Akhund said at the time.

United States and Afghan forces conducted an extensive overnight operation in Helmand on 22-23 September and initial reports suggested that Umar escaped.

Al-Qaeda top leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announced in 2013 that they would form branches in South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, but their activities were not evident.

He "was #killed along with six other AQIS members, a lot of them Pakistani", the NDS said on Twitter on Tuesday, adding that Umar had been "embedded" with the Taliban.

USA air strikes from an Air Force AC-130 gunship followed the raid to level the compound, but resulted in collateral damage, with Afghan officials telling the Associated Press that 40 people attending a wedding party in the area were killed. 14 people were arrested, including five Pakistani nationals and one Bangladeshi. An additional 12 civilians were wounded and were hospitalized in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province.

The strikes also killed 22 Taliban fighters and destroyed a large warehouse of supplies and equipment, the Associated Press added, citing Afghanistan's defense ministry.

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US Forces-Afghanistan declined to comment.

Meanwhile, U.S. -led peace talks with the Taliban appear to be back on after President Trump's envoy recently traveled to Pakistan.

On Tuesday, a bomb detonated inside a classroom in eastern Ghazni province, wounding at least 19 university students, a provincial official said.

It was not immediately clear Tuesday how much Omar's death will impact the terrorist group.

The UN report found that USA and Afghan forces killed 717 civilians and injured 680 in the first six months of the year, up 31 per cent from the same period in 2018.

'We told the security forces that we were not members of the Taliban. but both sides ended up killing civilians, ' he said.

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