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October 26, 2020

Key al-Qaeda leader al-Masri killed in Afghanistan Ag AFP

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October 26, 2020

KABUL: Afghan forces have killed a top Al-Qaeda militant wanted by the United States, as the government on Sunday accused the Taliban of still keeping close ties with the Islamist militant group. Abu Muhsin al-Masri, an Egyptian national believed to be the group's number two in the Indian sub-continent, was targeted in eastern Ghazni province, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said in a statement. The National Directorate of Security did not provide further details about the operation or when it was carried out. Masri’s killing was an indication of the relationship between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, Afghanistan´s Interior Minister Masoud Andarabi claimed on Sunday without providing details. "The killing of one of the key Al-Qaeda member, al-Masri by the National Directorate of Security demonstrates close ties of the Taliban with the terrorist groups that are operating against the Afghan government and its people," he tweeted. "They still keep close relations with the terrorist groups and they are lying to different sides. Masri, who also goes by the name Husam Abd-al-Ra´uf, is on the FBI´s Most Wanted Terrorists list. A US warrant for his arrest was issued in December 2018 after he was charged with providing support and resources to a foreign terrorist organisation and plotting to kill US nationals, according to the FBI. A source at the Afghan intelligence agency, who did not want to be named, told AFP that an aide to Masri who was "in contact with the Taliban" was also detained during the operation in Ghazni province, a volatile region where Taliban fighters are very active. Pakistan-based analyst Rahimullah Yousufzai, who previously interviewed Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, said Masri was largely unknown but his killing showed that these militants still existed. "This incident shows that Al-Qaeda´s men are few and far between, but they are still there," he said.