Afghan forces said that they had killed a top Al-Qaeda extremist wanted by the United States, as the death toll from a blast in the capital rose to 24 on Sunday.
Abu Muhsin al-Masri, an Egyptian national believed to be the number-two for the Islamist extremist group in the Indian sub-continent, was targeted in central Ghazni province, Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security said in a statement.
It did not provide further details about the operation or when it was carried out.
A source at the intelligence agency, who did not want to be named, told AFP that an aide to al-Masri who was ‘in contact with the Taliban’ was also detained.
Al-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.
Masri’s killing comes as peace talks continue in Qatar between the Taliban and the Afghan government in a bid to end the country’s long-running war.
The negotiations were organised after a deal between the United States and the Taliban in February, under which the extremists agreed to not allow Afghan soil to be used by foreign extremists.
The Taliban government’s sheltering of Al-Qaeda was the original reason for the US invasion of Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan had been complicated, however, because of ongoing attacks by Islamic State extremists.
In the latest IS-claimed attack, a suicide bomber struck near an education centre in a western district of Kabul on Saturday.
The death toll from the bombing climbed to 24 on Sunday, according to the interior ministry.
Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said that another 57 people had been wounded.
Residents in several districts of western Kabul belonged to the minority Shiite Hazara community, and were often targeted by Sunni extremists of IS.
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