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Top al-Qaeda leaders killed in Afghanistan: Pentagon

AT-KABUL: The United Stated military confirmed that a US airstrike killed two top leaders of the al-Qaeda terrorist network in an operative in eastern Kunar province in October.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook described the assault that killed Bilal al-Utabi Qahtani’s deputy, as well as Abd al-Wahid al-Junabi described as “a senior Al-Qaeda explosives expert.”

“They were actively involved in carrying out and plotting terror attacks inside and outside Afghanistan,” Cook said in a statement.

Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security had already confirmed Utabi’s death.

It worth to mention that the United Stated confirmed that the US airstrike killed Al Qaeda’s emir for northeastern Kunar province in October, in a major blow to the group as it seeks to re-establish safe havens in the country.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook described the assault that killed Farouq al-Qahtani as a “precision strike” and said it took place on October 23.

One US official had said the attack represented the most significant strike against the al-Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan in years, the statement said.

He had said another al-Qaeda leader in the country, Bilal al-Utabi, was targeted in a separate strike, though the results of that attack were not yet known. The statement added that US officials said multiple hellfire missiles had leveled two compounds in Kunar where the men (Bilal al-Utabi) were believed to be hiding.

It asserted the Pentagon has been actively hunting for Qahtani for four years. He had longstanding ties with Osama bin Laden before his death in the 2011 US raid on his Pakistan compound. Qahtani has operated in Afghanistan since at least 2009 and led an al-Qaeda battalion since at least mid-2010, the statement noted.

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