U.S. airstrike kills top al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan

The Pentagon described Abu Khalil al-Sudani as a senior shura member and head of al-Qaeda’s suicide and explosive operations

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A U.S. air strike in Afghanistan killed a senior al-Qaeda commander in charge of suicide bombing and two other militants, the Pentagon said Friday.

The attack, which occurred in Paktika province on July 11, killed Abu Khalil al-Sudani, a “high-ranking al-Qaeda operational commander”, the Pentagon said in a statement released to reporters in Iraq who were travelling with US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

“Al-Sudani was one of three known violent extremists killed in the strike. The death of al-Sudani will further degrade al-Qaeda operations across the globe,” the statement said.

The Pentagon described Sudani as a senior shura member and head of al-Qaeda’s suicide and explosive operations, and said he was directly linked to plotting attacks against the United States.

“He also directed operations against Coalition, Afghan and Pakistani forces, and maintained a close association with Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s leader,” the statement said.

In the statement, Carter said the killing of Sudani underscored the work done by General John Campbell, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, and his troops “to take the fight to al-Qaeda”.

“We will continue to counter violent extremism in the region and the world,” Carter said.

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