U.S. air raid that killed up to 40 wedding guests in Afghanistan additionally killed a top Al-Qaeda leader, Afghan officials have stated.
Up to 18 people had also been wounded within the strike, which hit the Musala Qala district of Helmand province on September 22. However, a tweet from Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) mentioned that numerous insurgents had been killed as well.
Among them was mentioned to be Asim Umar, an Indian national who was appointed as head of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) in 2014.
He was reportedly a former resident of the city of Sambhal, in the northern region of Uttar Pradesh, based on the Indian Express; however, he disappeared to Pakistan in 1995 and had not been seen in India since.
Based on the newspaper’s intelligence sources, Umar trained in a jihadist camp in Miranshah, in Pakistan’s northwest, before serving with several Kashmir-targeted terror groups, similar to Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Umar, the NDS mentioned that six other AQIS members were killed in the Musala Qala attacks, including Abu Raihan, who stated to be Umar’s “courier” to Zawahiri. The agency released pictures of Umar, both dead and alive.
U.S. officials have but to confirm the deaths, nor has any representative of Al-Qaeda. However, a spokesperson for the Taliban dismissed the information as “enemy-fabricated propaganda,” reported the news channel.
At the time of the airstrikes, U.S. officials had been sharply criticized for the attack had killed numerous girls and children; however, it was maintained that the target was legitimate because it was a Taliban complex. Nonetheless, the U.S. is investigating reports of civilian casualties.
A statement from Afghanistan’s defense ministry following the attack mentioned that as a result of the operation in Masa Qala district, 22 foreign members of the Taliban had been killed, and a further 14 were arrested.
Among those detained were five Pakistani nationals and a Bangladeshi, the statement stated.