Al Qaeda’s second-in-command on FBI’s most wanted list ‘killed by Afghan security forces’

The man believed to be al Qaeda’s second-in-command has been killed, Afghan security forces have said.

Abu Muhsin al-Masri was on the FBI’s most wanted list and was charged with conspiracy to kill US nationals.

He was killed in a special operation in Ghazni province in eastern Afghanistan, the country’s national directorate of security said in a tweet.

It added that al-Masri was al Qaeda’s supreme leader in the Indian subcontinent.

He had also been charged in America with providing material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organisation.

The FBI said he sometimes went by the name Husam Abd-al-Ra’uf and was an Egyptian national.

It is 19 years this month since the US invaded Afghanistan in the wake of the 11 September attacks.

President George W Bush’s administration took action to topple Taliban rulers who had harboured the al Qaeda militants who attacked the World Trade Centre in New York.

Since February, the US has gradually been reducing troop numbers in Afghanistan following a deal with the Taliban.

Foreign forces are set to leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for counterterrorism guarantees from the Taliban.

The group agreed to negotiate a permanent ceasefire and a power sharing formula with the Afghan government.

While fighting between Taliban and Afghan government forces has raged in recent weeks, the intra-Afghan peace process kicked off in Doha last month.

On Saturday, at least 18 people were killed including teenage students following a suicide bombing at an education centre in the Afghan capital Kabul.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack on social media, but did not provide any evidence to support this.

The Taliban rejected being connected to the explosion.

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