The leader of al-Qaeda’s South Asia branch was killed in a US-Afghan joint raid in southern Afghanistan last month, Afghan officials have confirmed.

Asim Umar, who led al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) from its inception in 2014, was killed during a raid on September 23 on a Taliban compound in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province.

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

He “was #killed along with six other AQIS members, most of them Pakistani”, the NDS said on Twitter on Tuesday, adding that Umar had been “embedded” with the Taliban.

The raid was part of a lengthy and confusing overnight operation from September 22-23 for which the US provided air support.

Authorities said they would investigate reports that 40 civilians, including children, were killed in an air raid during the operation.

The NDS also 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.

However, Taliban spokesman denied the claims on Tuesday saying that Umar was not killed, and that the operation “only caused heavy civilian losses”.

 

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