AFGHAN GOV’T CLAIMS KILLING AL-QAEDA LEADER WANTED BY U.S.
Afghanistan claimed it killed a top Al-Qaeda propagandist on an FBI most-wanted list during an operation in the country’s east, showing the militant group’s continued presence there as US forces work to withdraw from America’s longest-running war amid continued bloodshed.
The reported death of Husam Abd-al-Ra'uf, also known by the nom de guerre Abu Muhsin al-Masri, follows weeks of violence, including a suicide bombing by the Islamic State group at an education center near Kabul that killed 24 people. Meanwhile, the Afghan government continues to fight Taliban militants even as peace talks in Qatar between the two sides take place for the first time, Rahim Faiez, Tameem Akhgar and Jon Gambrell reported for the Associated Press (AP).
The violence and al-Rauf’s reported killing threaten the face-to-face peace talks and risk plunging this nation beset by decades of war into further instability. They also complicate America’s efforts to withdraw, 19 years after it led an invasion targeting the Taliban for hosting Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Details over the raid that led to al-Rauf’s alleged death remained murky hours after Afghanistan’s intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, claimed on Twitter to have killed him in Ghazni province. The agency released a photograph it described as al-Ra'uf’s corpse, which resembled FBI images of the militant leader.