Precision strike’ used to take out senior figure who knew Osama bin Laden

Author: Harriet Agerholm

Posted on November 6, 2016

The US has confirmed the death of a senior al-Qaeda leader in an air strike in northeastern Afghanistan in October, landing a blow to the groups efforts to re-establish itself in the country.

Farouq al-Qahtani, who led the organisation in the northern area, was killed on 23 October in what the Pentagon described as a «precision strike».

He had been assigned by the group to re-establish safe spaces for Al-Qaeda, but was also said to be one of al-Qaeda’s senior plotters against the US and had been placed on an American most wanted list in February.

A Qatari national, Qahtani was also accused of involvement in plots targeting Europe and is thought to have had longstanding ties with Osama bin Laden.

“This successful strike is another example of US operations to degrade international terrorist networks and target terrorist leaders who seek to attack the US homeland, our interests and our allies abroad,” Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook said in a statement.

He said another al-Qaeda leader in the country, Bilal al-Utabi, was targeted in a separate strike, although the results of that attack were not yet known.

Afghan government spokesman Abdul Ghani Mosamem said that 15 insurgents were killed in the operation on 23 October in the province of Kunar.

Those killed included two Arabs and several Pakistani Taliban fighters.

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