KABUL — Afghanistan’s intelligence agency announced Tuesday that a series of joint U.S.-Afghan operations had killed a top leader of the extremist al-Qaeda network along with scores of other members.
Omar bin Khatab was the second most important leader of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent and the most senior leader killed in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led war that ousted the former Taliban rulers in late 2001, said an official with the Afghan National Directorate of Security.
Bin Khatab, also known as Omar Mansoor, was killed air and group operations in the Gilan district of Ghazni province southwest of the capital, he added, speaking on condition of anonymity. The statement did not give details on the joint operation or how authorities confirmed Khatab was killed
Earlier, the agency said in a statement said that “80 other members” of al-Qaeda were killed, including three top figure, in operations in Zabul and Pakita near the border with Pakistan and adjacent to Ghazni.
The statement added that 27 members of the network were also captured.
The U.S.-led coalition had no immediate comment. The Afghan intelligence agency official described Khatab as from the tribal regions in Pakistan and in his early 40s, but did not offer details on how long Khatab was affiliated with al-Qaeda.
Last year, Afghan officials and the U.S. military reported killing of several of al-Qaeda’s foreign members residing in Afghanistan.
The presence of al-Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York, prompted the U.S.-led invasion of the country.