Tuesday, 25 February, 2020

Al-Qaeda's South Asia chief 'killed in Afghanistan'

Asim Umar who led Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent from its inception in 2014 was killed in a US-Afghan joint raid last month in Helmand province. — AFP  File Al-Qaeda's South Asia chief 'killed in Afghanistan'
Deanna Wagner | 09 October, 2019, 17:02

The UN report found that U.S. 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.

It talked about Umar used to be killed along with six other AQIS members, majority Pakistani.

A senior Al Qaeda leader was killed during a joint U.S. -Afghanistan commando raid on a Taliban compound last month, officials announced Tuesday.

The directorate posted another tweet that included a close-up of Umar's face with what appears to be blood or a wound on his forehead.

Omar was the head of operations in South Asia and died alongside his courier to Al-Qaeda leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri. However a spokesperson for the Taliban dismissed the news as "enemy-fabricated propaganda", reported the BBC.

The statement further added that the security and defense forces killed Asim Omar, the leader of Al Qaeda terrorist network for the Indian subcontinent.

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

For the first time in 18 years of war, civilian deaths caused by USA and Afghan government forces have surpassed those caused by the Taliban and other insurgents, according to a United Nations report. The agency released pictures of Umar both dead and alive.

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The announcement says the operation was carried out in a stronghold of the Taliban militant group.

"Tens of ordinary civilian Afghans including those participating in a wedding ceremony" were killed and wounded, it said in an English-language statement published by SITE Intelligence, which monitors jihadist activities worldwide. The two had reached an agreement "in principle" but President Donald Trump later called off the talks in the aftermath of the Kabul terror attack.

CBS News has reported that U.S. special forces were also involved in the operation.

He was former member of USA designated Foreign Terrorist Organisation Harakat ul-Mujahidin - a Pakistan-based terrorist group with branches across the Indian subcontinent.

A Pakistani intelligence official also said Umar had travelled to Syria, though it was not possible to confirm this.

"We brought 13 members of our family to the emergency hospital in Lashkargah city last night", a man named Abdullah told VOA after the raid, which was followed by an airstrike.

Even if the deal had been finalised, observers doubted whether the Taliban would ever really separate from al-Qaeda.