The National Directorate of Security also released photographs of the slain al Qaeda leader and said he was killed on Sept. 23.
“NDS can now confirm the death of Asim Omar, leader of #Al_Qaeda in the #Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), in a joint US-Afghan raid on a Taliban compound in Musa Qala district of Helmand province on Sep. 23,” the NDS wrote on Twitter.
In another tweet the NDS said Omar was killed along with six other AQIS members, most of them Pakistani. Among them was Raihan, Omar’s courier to al Qaeda chief Ayman Al_Zawahiri.
“They had been embedded inside the Taliban compound in the Taliban stronghold of Musa Qala,” the Afghan intelligence further claimed. Taliban did not comment on the NDS claim.
The Afghan intelligence said Omar was a Pakistani citizen, but the US Department of Treasury, the designated global terrorist (a.k.a HAQ, Sanaul; a.k.a. Ume Asim) was an Indian national and belonged to Sambhal, Uttar Pradesh, India.
A senior Indian journalist Rezaul Lashkar tweeted Omar aka Shaan-ul-Haq was born in Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh and that he had left for Pakistan in 1995.
Omar was appointed as the AQIS leader in September 2014 by al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri as the head of the group’s India branch.
A Pakistani militant, who had worked with Omar in Afghanistan, says he was “highly respected” by both local and foreign militants. He was very close to the Punjabi Taliban and had organized a series of meetings for the unity of the Punjabi Taliban, according to a Pakistani militant, who attended one of the meetings.
Omar had friends in Kashmir, Bangladesh and India and had encouraged attacks in Bangladesh against those who were blamed for blasphemy, he said.
Author of several Jihadi books, the Urdu-speaking al Qaeda leader was previously an active member of Harkatul Mujahideen – a banned group which had been fighting against Indian forces in Indian-occupied Kashmir. According to militant leaders’ familiar with him, he once headed a Harkat training center.
Omar developed ties with al Qaeda and other militant outfits during his time with Harkatul Mujahideen, militant sources say.
Harkat once hosted deceased al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden when he was living in Afghanistan, a former Harkat leader says. The group also arranged bin Laden’s first press conference in Afghanistan’s Khost province in 1988. Al Qaeda was formally launched at this press conference.
He had once headed the al Qaeda’s media wing “Al-Sahab”.
The Afghan intelligence had earlier claimed killing Omar’s deputy Omar Khetab in December 2017 in an airstrike along with over 20 militants.
Afghan security officials had earlier claimed that al Qaeda has no permanent bases in Afghanistan and that they cross the border as a result of pressure. But killing of Omar in Helmand proves al Qaeda members are stationed in Afghanistan.
The presence of foreign militants in Afghanistan was one of the issues during the Taliban-US talks in Qatar and Taliban had committed not to allow foreign militants operate from Afghan soil.
Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Qari Muhammad Yousaf rejected as “false claim” by the Afghan officials and said they view it as “part of propaganda by the enemy”.
He said in a statement late Tuesday that the operations in Musa Qala district killed and injured only civilians and that the operation had caused deaths and injuries to participants of a wedding ceremony and civilians.
“The enemy is trying to cover up its crimes in Musa Qala which they have committed there, he said.