Al-Qaeda leader Abu Muhsin al-Masri killed in Afghanistan | Asia

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Afghan security forces killed Abu Muhsin al-Masri, a top Al Qaeda leader who was on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) most wanted terrorists list, according to Afghan intelligence.Al-Masri, an Egyptian national believed to be al-Qaeda’s second in command, was killed during a special operation in central Ghazni province, the Afghan National Security Directorate (NDS) said in a tweet Saturday night.

Al-Masri, also known as Husam Abd-al-Ra’uf, has been accused in the United States of providing material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization and of plotting to kill nationals Americans. The United States issued an arrest warrant for him in December 2018.

The head of the US National Counterterrorism Center, Chris Miller, confirmed al-Masri’s death in a statement, saying his “withdrawal from the battlefield was a major setback for a terrorist organization which constantly suffers losses. strategies facilitated by the United Nations. States and its partners ”.

Al-Qaeda’s loss of al-Masri, Miller continued, “highlights the decline in the effectiveness of the terrorist organization.”

Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said fewer than 200 Al Qaeda operatives remained in Afghanistan.

Al-Masri’s death was announced the same day that 18 people were killed in a suicide bombing at an education center in the Afghan capital, Kabul. At least 57 other people were injured in the attack in the area which is home to many members of Afghanistan’s Shiite minority community.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack and the Taliban have denied any connection.

This month marks 19 years since the United States invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban leadership, who had harbored al Qaeda fighters who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.

The United States has gradually withdrawn its troops from Afghanistan after reaching a landmark deal with the Taliban in February.

The deal is expected to see foreign forces leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for guarantees against terrorism from the Taliban, who have agreed to negotiate a permanent ceasefire and a power-sharing formula with the Afghan government.

The intra-Afghan peace process began in the Qatari capital, Doha, last month. Despite the talks, fighting between the Taliban and Afghan government forces has raged in recent weeks.

Last week, US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said the Taliban had agreed to “reinstate” their commitments under a troop withdrawal deal and reduce the number of casualties in the country.



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