• Another One: US-Afghan Forces Take Down Leader of Al-Qaeda of the Indian Subcontinent

    Surge Summary: On the 18th anniversary of the first American airstrikes in Afghanistan, US-Afghanistan forces have killed the head of Al-Qaeda of the Indian Subcontinent, Asim Omar, along with other Al-Qaeda and Taliban members.

    A joint U.S.-Afghanistan commando raid on Sept. 23 killed Asim Omar, the head of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), along with six other Al-Qaeda members in the southern Helmand province, U.S. officials confirmed Tuesday. Afghanistan’s intelligence agency originally relayed news of the raid.

    Special forces struck a compound in the Musa Qala district, a Taliban stronghold, and took out Omar and six other Al-Qaeda fighters, including a courier for Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Umar, a Pakistani, headed AQIS from its inception in September 2014. [Tobias Hoonhout/National Review]

    The Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) shared pictures showing Umar both alive and dead, along with the initial statement.

    Tragically, air strikes from a U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship which leveled the compound following the raid resulted in collateral damage: Afghan officials told the Associated Press forty people attending a wedding party in the area were killed.

    That accident is sure to prompt criticism of American efforts; not helpful to the mission.

    More justifiably,

    [t]he operation also killed 22 Taliban fighters, the ADF reported. 14 people were arrested, including five Pakistani nationals and one Bangladeshi. The statement said a large warehouse of supplies and equipment was also destroyed.

    “The Taliban continue to be the primary partner for all foreign terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan,” writes Sean Snow/Military Times, “with the exception of ISIL,” the UN report reads.”

    Snow continues:

    A 2019 DoD report echoed the sentiments of the UN findings stating that al-Qaida and AQIS “routinely support, train, work, and operate with Taliban fighters and commanders.”

    News of Omar’s death comes on the 18th anniversary of the first American airstrikes in Afghanistan, and several weeks after President Trump confirmed the death of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza in September. U.S.-Taliban peace talks are currently tabled. [Hoonhout]

    H/T: Tobias Hoonhout/National Review

    H/T: Sean Snow/Military Times

    Image: Twitter; https://twitter.com/NDSAfghanistan/status/1181536054836432896

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