The Kabul Times.
Politics

Taliban still have link with Al Qaeda

By: Monitoring Desk

Though, the Taliban’s spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousuf Ahmadi rejected as baseless the claim that Asim Omar, a key member of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, had been killed, but credible sources confirmed the death, saying the outfit member was located and killed in the Afghan commando attack in Musa Qala district of Helmand province.
According to Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) statement released late on Tuesday last week, the death of Asim Omar, the Al Qaeda member in the subcontinent of India has taken place in the country’s southern province.
“Omar was killed in an anti-militants operation by Afghan forces in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province, south of Afghanistan,” the statement quoted.
However, the Taliban’s spokesman Qari Muhammad Yousuf Ahmadi rejected the claim that Omar had been killed in the attack and in a statement the outfit said they firmly reject the claim and consider it a part of fabricated propaganda by what the militants called ‘enemy.’
Yousuf Ahmadi, also claimed that the operation has targeted a wedding ceremony, killing civilians only.
But, the NDS statement also said that not only Omar, but Abu Raihan, a courier of Ayman Al Zawaheri the leader of the network and some other high profile features of the network have also been killed in the attack.
Omar’s wife along with six women who have been reportedly armed and fighting the Afghan forces, were arrested.
The statement also said 15 militants affiliated with the Taliban group have also been killed in the offensive.
Intelligence sources said Al Zawaheri appointed Omar to the leadership post in 1993 helping the network remain in hidden operation in some part of the country.
Rahmatullah Nabil, former NDS chief of the country and who is now a presidential hopeful in an interview with the private ToloNews said: “Omar was declared leader when the branch was formed for the Indian subcontinent in 2014.”
“The branch operates in different regions. Three years ago, an (Afghan forces) operation was carried out in Paktia, and many insurgents were killed, including many Pakistanis. But when the National Unity Government decided to evacuate from Musa Qala, the area became a hub for drug trade and Asim’s group went to Musa Qala. He was one of the key elements of Al Qaeda and had close ties with Ayman Al Zawahiri,” said the country’s former intelligence chief.
“It’s an important branch, they could recruit easily, and they had programs for the Indian subcontinent. They wanted to operate from this area. they had very close relations with the Taliban and they still have— therefore, this branch is important for them,” added Nabil as quoted by the agency.
The US had imposed sanctions on Omar, and the US Treasury described him, in a file available online, as born in India but having lived in Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
According to the NDS, the key Al Qaeda Network Omar had ties with the intelligence services of Pakistan, Iran and the Taliban’s Quetta Shura.
Omar had also reportedly a role in the last year tragedy led to the collapse of Ghazni city to the Taliban militants and an attack on Farah province.
The source is firmly confident that there was still a close cooperation between the Taliban and the remnants of the Saudi elusive, slain Osama Bin-e Laden led Al Qaeda network.

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The Kabul Times.