KABUL: In western Afghanistan, a bomb-maker who trained Taliban insurgents before transferring loyalty to Al Qaeda was killed, the country’s intelligence agency said on Tuesday.
Mohammad Hanif was a close aide to Asim Omar, who headed Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and was killed in a joint US-Afghan operation in 2019, the National Directorate of Security said.
The agency reported that Hanif had “close ties” with the Taliban, originally from Karachi, and helped train insurgents to make car bombs and improvised explosive devices.
It said he was formerly a member of the Taliban, but in 2010 he joined Al Qaeda.
Officials have long accused the Taliban, responsible for the deadly attacks on the United States on September 11 , 2001, of maintaining strong connections to Al Qaeda.
The country’s intelligence agency says Hanif was initially a member of the Taliban, but joined Al Qaeda in 2010
In the operation which led to the killing of Hanif, two Pakistani women were also detained, the NDS said, without providing further information. The Taliban didn’t immediately comment on the issue.
The killing of Hanif comes just days after security agents killed Abu Muhsin al-Masri, a top U.S.-wanted Al Qaeda militant.
The primary reason for the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was the sheltering of Al Qaedas and its leader Osama bin Laden by the Taliban.
About 19 years later, in a historic agreement with Washington made in February, the Taliban promised not to allow foreign militants, including Al Qaedas to use Afghan soil in exchange for the removal of all forces by the US.
The Taliban and the Afghan government, on the other hand, are reportedly participating in peace talks that started in September, but have not made any substantial progress.