Top Al-Qaeda Commander Asim Omar Killed in US-Afghan Raid on Taliban Hideout
Raid in Musa Qala, Helmand Province, Afghanistan takes out Omar and 6 other terrorists
Top Al-Qaeda commander Asim Omar has been killed in a raid on a Taliban hideout in Afghanistan during a joint operation by US-Afghan forces, according to reports.
The raid in Musa Qala, Helmand Province, Afghanistan took out Omar along with six more of his high-level terrorist colleagues during the September 23 attack, Afghanistan's National Directorate for Security revealed Tuesday.
Omar was in charge of the terror group's operations in South Asia and was killed alongside his messenger to Al-Qaeda leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
"They had been embedded inside the Taliban compound in the Taliban stronghold of Musa Qala," Afghanistan's intelligence services revealed in a statement.
Alongside the key targets, an additional 22 Taliban fighters, including foreigners, were also killed in the raid.
A further 14 survivors were captured and arrested, including five Pakistani nationals and one Bangladeshi.
According to the Daily Mail, despite the operation taking down several senior members of Al-Qaeda, the group had shielded themselves with civilians, leading to at least 40 people attending a nearby wedding party being inadvertently killed, according to local officials.
Most of those who died were women and children, Helmand's Deputy Provincial Councilman Abdul Majed Akhund said at the time.
He revealed a further twelve civilians were wounded during the airstrikes and had to be taken to nearby hospitals.
At the time, a spokesman for Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani said: "We are saddened and devastated to hear that civilians have lost their lives in an incident in Helmand despite President Ghani's repeated call for extra cautions in conducting military operations."
According to Reuters, Afghan officials said a house being used by the Taliban to train suicide bombers was located adjacent to the bride's home that came under fire.
One witness told the news network that he was headed to meet the bride for a henna ceremony "when the battle began."
However, US officials have revealed how the civilians died.
Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, said some bystanders were killed by Taliban members who detonated suicide vests.
The US invaded Afghanistan shortly after September 11, 2001, after the Taliban - who ruled the country at the time - refused to hand over Osama Bin Laden.
However, the United States has more recently been trying to negotiate a deal with the militant group, reportedly wanting to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban's renunciation of Al-Qaeda.
However, peace talks fell through last month when President Trump canceled secret plans to host Taliban members after they admitted to killing a US soldier.
Meanwhile, the presence of Omar and other senior Al-Qaeda figures inside the Taliban compound at the time of the September 23 raid raises questions about whether the groups are ready to cut ties.
The Taliban is at their strongest since their ouster in 2001 and hold sway over more than half the country, staging near-daily, deadly attacks across Afghanistan.
The UN report found that US and Afghan forces killed 717 civilians and injured 680 in the first six months of the year, up 31 percent from the same period in 2018.