The leader of al-Qaeda’s South Asian branch was killed in a U.S.-Afghan joint raid in southern Afghanistan in September, Afghan officials confirmed on Tuesday.
Asim Umar, who led al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) from its inception in 2014, was killed during a raid September 23 on a Taliban compound in the Musa Qala district of Helmand Province.
He was killed along with six other AQIS members, most of them Pakistani. The NDS tweeted, adding that Umar had been “embedded” with the Taliban.
Reportedly, the raid was part of a lengthy and confusing overnight operation between September 22 and 23 for which the U.S. provided air support. Authorities said they would investigate reports that 40 civilians, including children, were killed in an airstrike during the operation.
The NDS 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.
Under a stalled withdrawal plan negotiated between the U.S. and the Taliban, Washington agreed to pull troops from Afghanistan if the insurgents abide by security guarantees and cut all ties with al-Qaeda.