Middle East News: Al-Qaeda suffer major setback with death of top commander | World | News


Asim Omar, head of the terrorist organisation’s South Asia division, was hiding in the Taliban stronghold of Musa Qala, when the joint US-Afghan attack was carried out on September 23. He was killed along with six of his fellow jihadis in a fierce gunfight, that left a further 22 Taliban fighters, including foreigners, dead. An approximated 14 people were also arrested, including five Pakistani nationals and one Bangladeshi.

The success of the operation was marred by the tragic death of guests at a nearby wedding.

Unfortunately, at least 40 of the wedding guests were killed, when they were caught up in the crossfire of the raging battle.

A spokesman for Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani expressed sincere regret for the deaths, saying “we are saddened and devastated to hear that civilians have lost their lives in an incident in Helmand despite President Ghani’s repeated call for extra cautions in conducting military operations.”

The US has emphatically denied any responsibility for the killings.

Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan pointed the finger of blame at the Taliban.

He told reporters that the deaths occurred when Taliban members detonated their suicide vests, immediately killing the bystanders.

The US has now been fighting the Taliban for almost two decades, ever since it invaded the country in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in 2001.

President Trump has vowed to bring all US troops home from foreign fields of action and had been seeking a peace deal with the Taliban.

Taliban warn Trump: ‘More Americans will die’

“I fully understand both sides but I promised to bring our troops home.

“We’re not a police force.”

But his decision was roundly criticised by Republicans in Congress, including some of his staunchest allies.

They see this as a gross betrayal of the Kurds, who have played a major role in defeating ISIS in Syria and have lost up to 11,000 fighters in the process.

However, Trump robustly defended his decision in a long series of tweets.

He tweeted: “The United States was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days, that was many years ago.

“We stayed and got deeper and deeper into battle with no aim in sight.

“When I arrived in Washington, ISIS was running rampant in the area. We quickly defeated 100% of the ISIS Caliphate.”

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