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Regional Al-Qaeda leader killed by US-Afghan raid in Afghanistan, say officials

U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Daren Cagle, Task Force Marauder, Bravo Company, 2-238th General Support Aviation Battalion CH-47 Chinook crew chief, scans his sector during a mission over Southern Afghanistan, Feb. 15, 2018. TF Marauder provides medevac, air transportation, over-watch support, and forward arming and refueling point operations for the Train, Advise, and Assist Command - West to assist with ground missions in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sean Martin)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Afghan officials have confirmed that a regional leader of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization was killed during a joint U.S.-Afghan raid in southern Afghanistan last month.

Asim Umar, who is the chief of Al-Qaeda on the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), was killed in a September 23 operation that targeted a Taliban compound in the Musa Qala district of Helmand Province.

Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security said Umar was a Pakistani citizen, although some reports say he had been born in India.

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

The raid was part of a protracted and controversial overnight operation on September 22-23 for which the U.S. military provided air support.

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

The NDS 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.

U.S. Forces-Afghanistan declined to comment.

In now-stalled talks with the Taliban, the United States agreed to withdraw troops from Afghanistan if the militant group guaranteed that it would not harbor terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda or Islamic State.