Afghan forces kill al-Qaeda leader, accuse Taliban of links to group
Kabul, Oct 25 (efe-epa).- The Afghan government on Sunday accused the Taliban of having links with and protecting members of al-Qaeda after the country’s intelligence services killed a high-ranking member of the extremist group over the weekend.
Abu Mohsin al-Masri, al-Qaeda’s deputy leader in the Indian subcontinent, was killed on Saturday. He was allegedly one of the few remaining figures who had been involved with al-Qaeda when the group plotted the 9/11 attacks in the United States, which killed more than 3,000 people.
Then US president George W. Bush singled out Osama bin Laden, the former al-Qaeda leader, as being behind those attacks. At the time, Bin Laden was hiding in Afghanistan with protection from the Taliban.
Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president said in a statement: “The killing of this senior member of al-Qaeda terrorist group by our brave forces proved that Taliban’s relations with terrorism and terrorist groups remained intact.”
Under the US-Taliban agreement signed in Doha back in February, the Taliban are obliged to cut their relations with terrorist groups, particularly with al-Qaeda.
Ghani added: “The Taliban should practically prove to the people and government of Afghanistan and the international community that they are cutting their ties and relations with all terrorist networks and groups, including al-Qaeda.”
He added that Afghan security forces would continue their counter-terror efforts to ensure the central Asian nation did not become “a safe haven for the terrorists.”
“Our joint mission with our international allies will continue until the elimination of the threat of terrorism,” the president said.
Afghanistan’s intelligence agency NDS said it had killed al-Masri in the eastern province of Ghazni, adding that “he’d been living under Taliban protection and sanctuary.”
Also known as Husam Abd-al-Rauf, al-Masri was close to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s current leader al-Zawahiri.