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Pentagon: US Strike in Afghanistan in October Killed 3 Senior Al-Qaeda Leaders

© AFP 2021 / Thomas WatkinsIn this October 23, 2016 image, a US military helicopter is seen flying toward Bagram airbase from Kabul, Afghanistan.
In this October 23, 2016 image, a US military helicopter is seen flying toward Bagram airbase from Kabul, Afghanistan. - Sputnik International
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The US airstrike conducted on October 23 in Afghanistan eliminated three senior al-Qaeda leaders, Department of Defense spokesperson Peter Cook told reporters on Monday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Earlier it was reported that Al-Qaeda emir for Eastern Afghanistan Faruq al-Qatani was killed in the airstrike.

Rudy Ayala (2nd L) Law Enforcement Professional embeded with the Marine corps questions opium poppy farmers at Maranjan village in Helmand province on April 25, 2011 as US Marines from Border Adviser Team (BAT) and Explosive Ordance Disposal 1st and 2nd Marine Division (Forward) and Afghanistan National Police take patrol in the area - Sputnik International
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"We previously announced on October 23 a precision airstrike that killed Faruq al-Qatani, the Al-Qaeda emir for Eastern Afghanistan. The [Defense] Department now determined that the same strike killed two additional senior al-Qaeda leaders Bilal al-Utabyi, al-Qatani’s Deputy and Abd al-Wahid al-Junabi, a senior al-Qaeda explosives expert," Cook said.

The spokesperson explained that the three were actively involved in carrying out and planning terrorist attacks inside and outside Afghanistan.

"The deaths of these three al-Qaida leaders will significantly reduce the group's ability to threaten the United States, our interests and our allies," Cook added.

Afghanistan is in a state of political and social turmoil, with Taliban insurgents and other extremist factions operating in the country. The United States has been carrying out a counter-terrorist operation in Afghanistan since 2001.

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