Senior al-Qaida leader killed in Afghan operations: gov't

KABUL, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- A senior al-Qaidaleader has been killed together with 80 anti-government militants following operations in Afghanistan, the country's intelligence agency announced on Tuesday.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said in a statement that the operations were jointly conducted by the Afghan army, NDS personnel and U.S.-led coalition forces in eastern Ghazni, neighboring Paktia and southern Zabul provinces recently.

The statement introduced the killed leader as Omar Khetab, saying Khetab was the most senior member of the network to be killed in Afghanistan so far.

It did not disclose the nationality of Khetab but said that "Khetab was the second senior leader of al-Qaida after Asim Omar, who is the leader of the group in Indian subcontinent."

Among killed militants were several key members of al-Qaida and Taliban insurgents, the statement said, adding, "most of the targeted militants were involved in direct attacks against security forces and coalition troops in countryside."

The death of the targeted men was a big blow for the terror group, which has been a big threat for the security and stability of Afghanistan, and the region, the statement noted.

"Up to 27 members of al-Qaida network were also arrested and five main command posts of the network were destroyed during the above raids," the statement added.

The violence has been on the rise within the past three years as Afghan security forces struggle against a surge in attacks by anti-government fighters since the drawdown of foreign forces.

The Afghan security forces have also beefed up military operations against militants as the Taliban militants and Islamic State (IS) fighters are attempting to take territory and consolidate their positions ahead of winter in the mountainous country.

In October last year, two al-Qaida key leaders named Faruq al-Qatani and Bilal were killed after the coalition forces' conducted an airstrike based on a NDS tip off in eastern Kunar province.

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[ Editor: meng ]


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