Eighty al-Qaeda militants and a key leader of the terrorist group were killed in joint operations by domestic and international forces in Afghanistan, the country’s spy agency said on Tuesday.
“Omar Khetab, also known as Omar Mansour, has been killed along with 80 other fighters of the group,’’ the National Directorate of Security, NDS, statement said.
NDS mentioned a series of operations in the provinces of Ghazni, Zabul and Paktia.
Where and when Khetab was killed was not immediately clear.
According to the NDS, he provided training on the usage of heavy weapons, night operations and communications to Taliban fighters.
The spy agency said that 27 al-Qaeda militants were captured and five headquarters of the group destroyed in the operation.
The Taliban initially provided sanctuary to al-Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan during their control of the country from 1996 to 2001.
The U.S. military has long said that al-Qaeda in Afghanistan had been reduced to fewer than 100 fighters.
Report says the spy agency’s statement indicates a larger presence of al-Qaeda than previously publicly known.