U.S., Afghan forces kill al-Qaida south Asia leader Asim Umar

A joint attack by U.S. and Afghan forces has killed the leader of al-Qaida’s southern Asia operations, Kabul’s intelligence agency announced Tuesday.

Asim Umar died in an attack at a compound in Hemland province, intelligence officials said Tuesday. Photo courtesy Afghan National Directorate of Security

Designated by the United States as a “global terrorist” in 2016, Asim Umar was killed with six other al-Qaeda militants during a Sept. 23 raid on a Taliban compound in Musa Qala, Helmand province, the Afghan National Directorate of Security said.

Born in Sambhal, India, Umar emigrated to Pakistan in 1995 to join the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Indian security officials said. In 2014, he headed al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent, or AQIS.

The National Directorate of Security announced Umar’s death on Twitter. He was cited as a Pakistani citizen, though officials said that may be because he was found with Pakistani identification.

AQIS claimed responsibility for a 2014 attack on the naval yard in Karachi, during which they tried to hijack a Pakistani frigate. The group also said it was behind multiple activist and journalist killings in Bangladesh, including a U.S. citizen and embassy employee.

Umar studied at two madrassas well known for producing terrorist commanders, and is said to have met al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden at one point while he trained in Afghanistan.

ByNicholas Sakelaris