The leader of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent was killed in a joint U.S.-Afghan operation last month, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said on Tuesday, October 8.
Asim Umar, a Pakistani citizen, “was #killed along with six other AQIS members, most of them Pakistani,” in southern Helmand province, the National Directorate of Security said in a tweet that also showed a graphic photo purporting to be of Umar’s body.
The NDS added that Umar had been “embedded” in a Taliban compound, and 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.
Afghan officials are investigating whether the September 23 airstrike during a wedding celebration in Musa Qala district of Helmand killed as many as 40 civilians, including children.
Residents and local officials in Helmand said an evening ceremony, part of a wedding celebration, was underway when U.S. and Afghan special forces launched a ground and aerial operation against suspected militants.
U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said at the time that it assessed the majority of the people killed in that operation “died from al-Qaeda weapons or in the explosion of the terrorists’ explosives caches or suicide vests.”
A compound near the wedding venue “was being used to train men and women who were willing to become suicide bombers,” RFE/RL cited an Afghan defense ministry official as saying.
The United Nations has documented a sharp rise in civilian deaths from airstrikes last year, as Afghan and U.S. forces intensified the aerial bombardment of Taliban and Islamic State militants.
With reporting from AFP