Afghan intelligence announced on Saturday, October 24, that the Special Forces had killed Abu Muhsin al-Masri, a prominent leader in al-Qaeda who was on the wanted list of the United States.
This development comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that there are still about 200 al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan that must be eliminated.
The United States invaded Afghanistan 19 years ago to topple the Taliban, which had provided a safe haven for al-Qaeda fighters who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.
Who was he?
According to the FBI, the al-Qaeda leader was also called Husam Abd-al-Ra’uf. He was born in Egypt in 1958 and was on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists. It is believed that he was the second in command of the terrorist organization.
In September 2018, the United States issued an arrest warrant for him after a US court in New York charged him with providing support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization and conspiring to kill American citizens, according to the FBI.
Masri was a prominent figure in the al-Qaeda Shura Council and one of the theorists of its strategy. He also supervised the organization’s media outlets, including the As-Sahab Media Foundation.
It is believed that Masri was involved in managing the terrorist organization’s daily operations, and he was likely the number two man in its leadership behind leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. In a 2019 letter from the al-Qaeda branch in Iraqi Kurdistan, the messengers addressed both Zawahiri and Masri simultaneously, according to the Jamestown Foundation.
Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) announced on Twitter that its forces had killed Masri in a special operation in Ghazni province, in the east of the country. The NDS did not disclose any further details about the operation.
Masri’s killing represents a major setback for al-Qaeda, which continues to suffer from strategic losses inflicted by the United States and its partners.
Agreement with the Taliban
In February, the United States concluded an agreement with the Afghan Taliban movement in preparation for a gradual withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan. The agreement will lead to the departure of all foreign forces from the country by May 2021 in exchange for anti-terrorism guarantees from the Taliban and a formula for power-sharing with the Afghan government.