Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent's (AQIS) chief and Pakistani citizen Asim Omar, was killed in Afghanistan's Musa Qala district during a raid on September 23, Afghan's National Directorate of Security (NDS) confirmed on Tuesday night. For proof, NDS released two photos of the top terrorist, both alive and dead to confirm the news. However, Al Qaeda has not confirmed the death of Omar, neither has the White House or Pentagon released an official statement.
Omar's courier to Al Qaeda chief and Osama bin Laden's successor Ayman al Zawahiri, was also killed in the joint raid by US-Afghan Forces, along with Taliban fights and civilians.
2/2: 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. pic.twitter.com/7jQF7bK7aD— NDS Afghanistan (@NDSAfghanistan) October 8, 2019
According to the Long War Journal, while NDS has claimed Omar to be the head of the Al Qaeda Indian Subcontinent, his former spokesperson, Usama Mahmood is known to have taken over. The NDS earlier reported that 17 terrorists were killed in the operation, and the six Al Qaeda IS members who died in the raid came from Pakistan's Waziristan, Chaman, and Peshawar. Omar's wife was one of the six Pakistani women who were detained during the operation, according to reports. In the same raid, it was reported that at least 40 civilians lost their lives during a wedding party in Afghanistan.
“Al-Qaida continues to see Afghanistan as a safe haven for its leadership, based on its long-standing strong relationship with the Taliban,” a recent UN report read.
Born in Uttar Pradesh, the son of a peasant ran away from home to Pakistan, after being radicalised. Omar was reportedly picked up to head the AQIS after its formation in 2014. According to international reports, the terrorist was previously affiliated with Pakistan Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and even Jaish-e-Mohammed in PoK, before being linked to the Al Qaeda.
Omar, in June, had praised the Taliban for its "victory" in Afghanistan against the US forces, and even hailed the "unity" of the Taliban. Back in June, Al Qaeda Indian Subcontinent also released a 20-page 'code of conduct' accentuating its fidelity to chief Ayman al Zawahiri and the emir of the Taliban. The presence of a senior Al Qaeda leader in the Taliban compound raises speculations over the armed group's willingness to cut ties with terror, amid the stalled peace negotiations with the United States.
The US launched its war against terror in Afghanistan post 9/11 after the Taliban refused to hand over Osama bin Laden. As per the peace negotiation, that was at the final stage of the agreement, the US troops were to withdraw from Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban cutting ties with the Al Qaeda.
Earlier on October 3, the Taliban Political Commission (TPC) delegation met with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and even the ISI chief, with the view to revive talks with the United States, after Donald Trump abruptly called off the year-long negotiation.
Since the inception of the militant group in the 1990s, Islamabad has shared close ties with the Taliban, so much that it considers the militant group to be the true representatives of Afghanistan and has followed a pro-Taliban Afghan foreign policy. Pakistan, through the peace negotiation between the two parties, hopes to benefit economically and diplomatically in the dispute against India over Kashmir, by bringing the Taliban to the talking table.