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Pentagon Confirms Death Of Top Al-Qaeda Leader In Afghanistan

An anti-government militant captured by the government forces in Kunar on November 1.

The Pentagon confirmed that air strikes in Afghanistan last month killed Al-Qaeda leader Faruq al-Qatani, taking out a top plotter of attacks against the United States in a "significant blow" for the terrorist group.

The U.S. military targeted Qatani and his lieutenant Bilal al-Utabi in separate drone strikes in Kunar province in northeastern Afghanistan on October 23.

But while the Pentagon has determined that Qatani, the extremist group's leader for the region, was killed, the fate of Utabi remains unclear, press secretary Peter Cook said on November 4.

Kunar provincial officials have said both militants were killed, along with a half dozen other militants in the strikes.

Cook said Qatani was the terrorist group's "senior plotter of attacks against the United States."
Both of the men were involved in efforts to re-establish a safe haven for Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, he said.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and dpa