Afghanistan claims killing an al-Qaida chief wished by FBI

Afghanistan claims killing an al-Qaida chief wished by FBI

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan claimed Sunday it killed a high al-Qaida propagandist on an FBI most-wanted checklist throughout an operation within the nation’s east, displaying the militant group’s continued presence there as U.S. forces work to withdraw from America’s longest-running conflict amid continued bloodshed.

The reported dying of Husam Abd al-Rauf, additionally identified by the nom de guerre Abu Muhsin al-Masri, follows weeks of violence together with an Islamic State-claimed suicide bombing Saturday at an training heart close to Kabul that killed 24 folks. In the meantime, the Afghan authorities continues to struggle Taliban militants whilst peace talks in Qatar between the 2 sides happen for the primary time.

The violence and al-Rauf’s reported killing threatens the face-to-face peace talks and dangers plunging this nation beset by many years of conflict into additional instability. It additionally complicates America’s efforts to withdraw, 19 years after it led an invasion concentrating on the Taliban for internet hosting al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden after the Sept. 11 assaults.

Particulars over the raid that led to al-Rauf’s alleged dying remained murky, hours after Afghanistan’s Nationwide Directorate of Safety intelligence service claimed on Twitter to have killed him in Ghazni province. Al-Qaida didn’t instantly acknowledge al-Rauf’s reported dying. The FBI, the U.S. navy and NATO didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

The Afghan raid occurred final week in Kunsaf, a village in Ghazni province’s Andar district some 150 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of Kabul, two authorities officers mentioned.

Amanullah Kamrani, the deputy head of Ghazni’s provincial council, instructed The Related Press that Afghan particular forces led by the intelligence company raided Kunsaf, which he described as being underneath Taliban management. On the village’s outskirts, they stormed an remoted residence and killed seven suspected militants in a firefight, together with al-Rauf, Kamrani mentioned.

Neither Kamrani nor the intelligence company supplied particulars on how authorities recognized al-Rauf, nor how they got here to suspect he was within the village.

Wahidullah Jumazada, a spokesman for the provincial governor in Ghazni, mentioned Afghan forces killed six suspected militants within the raid, with out acknowledging al-Rauf had been killed.

Kamrani alleged, with out offering proof, that the Taliban had been providing shelter and safety to al-Rauf. The Taliban instructed the AP on Sunday they’re investigating the incident, with out elaborating.

If the Taliban had offered safety for al-Rauf, that may violate the phrases of its Feb. 29 take care of the U.S. that jump-started the Afghan peace talks. That deal noticed the Taliban agree “to not cooperate with teams or people threatening the safety of the US and its allies,” which incorporates al-Qaida.

Federal prosecutors within the southern district of New York filed a warrant for al-Rauf’s arrest in December 2018, accusing him of offering assist to a overseas terrorist group and being a part of a conspiracy to kill U.S. residents. The FBI put him on the bureau’s “Most Wished Terrorists” checklist, which now contains 27 others.

The red-headed al-Rauf, believed to be born in 1958, is an Egyptian nationwide. An al-Qaida-issued biography mentioned he joined the mujahedeen fighters who battled the Soviet Union in 1986.

He has served for years as al-Qaida’s media chief, providing audio statements and written articles backing the militant group. After years of remaining silent following the acknowledgement of Taliban founder Mullah Omar’s dying, al-Rauf re-emerged in 2018 in an audio assertion through which he mocked President Donald Trump and those that preceded him the White Home.

“I title him ‘Donald T-Rambo’ who tries to repeat the well-known American fictional character ‘Rambo,’ who, with solely a Kalashnikov, was capable of liberate all the Afghanistan from the Soviet Union,” al-Rauf mentioned, in line with the SITE Intelligence Group.

In the meantime Sunday, authorities raised the dying toll in Saturday’s suicide assault on an training heart close to Kabul. The suicide bomber, who was stopped by guards from getting into the middle, killed 24 and wounded 57 — a lot of them younger college students.

The Islamic State group’s native affiliate claimed credit score for the assault in a closely Shiite neighborhood of western Kabul’s Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood, saying one in every of its fighters used a suicide bomb vest within the assault.

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Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Related Press author Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.

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