Afghanistan Reports Top al-Qaeda Figure Masri Was Killed

Officials say Masri killed during arrest attempt in Ghazni Province

The Afghan security directorate has reported the death of a high-ranking al-Qaeda figure, Abu Muhsin al-Masri, in a failed attempt to arrest him on Saturday. The incident took place in Ghazni Province, and officials called his death a major blow to al-Qaeda.

Though rankings within al-Qaeda are never all that clear, Masri is claimed both as the leader of al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent, and the number two of the parent organization. It is common, at the parent organization’s level, for the slain commander to be reported to be as highly ranked as possible.

US officials called Masri’s death proof of al-Qaeda’s “diminishing effectiveness.” Al-Qaeda was never believed to have a very large preference anywhere, and recently was estimated with no more than 300 fighters in Afghanistan.

The failure to catch Masri, even if they did manage to kill him, is still a missed opportunity, however, as he is believed to rank highly enough that he’d have massive intelligence on the organization which could’ve been gained in capturing and interrogating him.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.