Al-Qaida Leader Wanted by FBI Is Dead: Afghanistan

Raid could roil peace talks withTaliban
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 25, 2020 10:05 AM CDT
Al-Qaida Leader Wanted by FBI Is Dead: Afghanistan
Afghan men on Sunday bury a victim of a suicide attack in Kabul Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

Afghanistan said Sunday that it killed a top al-Qaida propagandist on an FBI most-wanted list during an operation in the country's east, showing the group's continued presence there as US forces work to withdraw from America's longest-running war. The reported death of Husam Abd al-Rauf, whose nom de guerre is Abu Muhsin al-Masri, follows weeks of violence, including a bombing by the Islamic State group Saturday at an education center near Kabul whose death toll is now 24. The Afghan government continues to fight Taliban militants even as peace talks in Qatar between the two sides take place for the first time. 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, the AP reports. They also complicate America's efforts to withdraw, 19 years after it led an invasion targeting the Taliban for hosting al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Details over the raid that led to al-Rauf's reported death remained murky hours after Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security claimed on Twitter to have killed him in Ghazni province. It said one of its members was also killed. The agency released a photograph it described as al-Rauf's corpse, which resembled FBI images of the militant leader. Al-Qaida did not immediately acknowledge al-Rauf's reported death. The FBI, the US military's Central Command and NATO did not respond to requests for comment. The Afghan raid happened last week in Kunsaf, a village in Ghazni province's Andar district some 90 miles southwest of Kabul, two government officials said. Amanullah Kamrani, the deputy head of Ghazni's provincial council, said special forces led by the intelligence agency raided Kunsaf, which he described as being under Taliban control. On the village's outskirts, they stormed an isolated home and killed seven suspected militants in a firefight, including al-Rauf, Kamrani said.

(More Afghanistan stories.)

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