US strike kills prominent Al Qaeda commander in Afghanistan

Abu Khalil al Sudani, head of Al Qaeda 'suicide, explosives operations' killed in Afghanistan

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The United States said on Friday that a US air strike killed a high-ranking Al Qaeda operational commander in Afghanistan's Paktika province.

Pentagon officials named the target of the strike as Abu Khalil al-Sudani and the air strike was conducted on July 11 in the Bermal district of Afghanistan's Paktika province.

According to a statement from Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, al Sudani was head of Al Qaeda "suicide and explosives operations" and was linked to external attack plotting against the United States, Reuters reported.

He had close ties with Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri and was a senior shura member, the statement claimed. Two other Al Qaeda members were also killed during the airstrike, Carter said in the statement.

“The operation underscores the work that General Campbell and all of our forces in Afghanistan do each day to take the fight to Al Qaeda. We will continue to counter violent extremism in the region and around the world, including coalition efforts to deliver a lasting defeat to ISIL [ISIS],” Fox News quoted Carter as saying.

The US forces have been carrying out air raids against militants in Afghanistan to prevent them from gaining ground in the war-torn country.

Scores of senior ISIS officials were killed by US air strikes in the region this month, including Shahidullah Shahid, former spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban who joined ISIS in 2014, and Gul Zaman, who was deputy leader of ISIS in Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon.

Afghanistan has witnessed rising levels of violence since NATO forces withdrew from the country in December 2014. The UN says 2014 was the most violent year yet since US forces invaded the country in 2001.

TRTWorld and agencies