World News

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

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

Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security said Umar was a Pakistani citizen, though some reports claim he was born in India.

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.

"Omar, a #Pakistani citizen, was #killed along with six other AQIS members, a lot of them Pakistani".

US 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.

There were also reports that some 40 civilians were killed in an air strike during the operation.

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.

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.

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The US attacked Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks in which Al-Qaeda hijackers crashed passenger aircraft into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, killing nearly 3,000 people.

Umar's death in a Taliban base raises questions about the militant group's pledges during talks with the United States about breaking ties with al Qaeda.

U.S. Forces-Afghanistan declined to comment. This was one of the main US demands during the peace negotiations with the Taliban that US President Donald Trump declared to be "dead" last month. The U.S. has been pushing for the Taliban to make a public break with Al Qaeda and renounce any ties to the terrorist group.

The AQIS claimed responsibility for the September 6, 2014 attack on a naval dockyard in Karachi, in which terrorists attempted to hijack a Pakistani Navy frigate.

The group was established to try to rouse fighters in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. More are located across the border in Pakistan.

Umar - an alias - was named by al-Zawahiri in a video message.


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