Kabul, October 8: The National Directorate of Security, based in Kabul, confirmed on Tuesday the demise of Asim Umar, the chief of Al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). According to the NDS, Umar was killed in a joint US-Afghan airstrike in Musa Qala district of Afghanistan's southern Helmand province. The aerial strike was carried out in September, and also allegedly led to collateral casualties, including the death of women and children. Hamza bin Laden, Son of Al-Qaeda Founder Osama bin Laden, Killed in Encounter Along Afghanistan-Pakistan Border.
The NDS said the charges of collateral casualties are being investigated. The strike was essential as the security agencies had apprehended the presence of five key Al-Qaeda representatives in the terror hideout. Apart from Omar, another deceased who has been identified is Raihan, a courier to Al Qaeda chief Ayman Al Zawahiri.
"Omar, a Pakistani citizen, was killed along with six other AQIS members, most of them Pakistani. Among them was Raihan, Omar’s courier to Ayman Al Zawahiri. They had been embedded inside the Taliban compound in the Taliban stronghold of Musa Qala," the NDS said in a statement on social media.
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Tweet by NDS Afghanistan:
Umar, a resident of Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh, had fled to Pakistan in 1990s. From there, he got in touch with terrorist handlers and joined the Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. In 2014, when Al Qaeda formed its Subcontinent-specific unit, the Indian-origin militant was tasked to head the group.
The confirmation of Umar's killing comes a day after Taliban agreed to free three Indian engineers, abducted in 2017, in exchange of 11 militants who are set to be released by the Afghan government. The swapping deal was reportedly inked during the meeting between Taliban officials and the US' special representative for Afghan reconciliation process, Zalmay Khalilzad.