NATO says weekend air strike killed al-Qaida operative in AfghanistanBy AP
Monday, August 16, 2010
NATO says al-Qaida operative killed in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan — An al-Qaida operative has been killed in an airstrike in Afghanistan, NATO forces said Monday.
The military coalition had said previously that it killed two insurgents with Sunday’s strike on a pickup truck fleeing the site of a gunfight with police in northern Kunduz province.
NATO identified one of the dead Monday as Abu Baqir, a Taliban sub-commander and al-Qaida group leader. There were reports that he was housing four potential suicide bombers for upcoming attacks on the city of Kunduz, NATO said in a statement.
U.S. officials have said that there are a small number of al-Qaida operatives in Afghanistan.
In October 2009, national security adviser James Jones said there were fewer than 100 fighters operating in the country and said they had no bases in Afghanistan or ability to launch attacks on the West.
In eastern Afghanistan, an unmanned aerial vehicle crashed Monday and was immediately recovered by NATO forces.
NATO said the cause of Monday’s crash in Khas Kunar district of Kunar province is under investigation.
Separately, NATO reported that Afghan and coalition forces destroyed nearly 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds) of narcotics during an operation Sunday in the Maiwand district of Kandahar province in the south. The joint force detained two men who were unloading narcotics from a vehicle and then destroyed the cache of hashish and opium.
Troops are working to disrupt drug trafficking networks that bankroll insurgents and terrorist groups in Afghanistan.