US drone strikes target 2 al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan

\ From Lalit K Jha\ Washington, Oct 27 (PTI) The US has carried out precision\strikes against two top al Qaeda leaders, including one\involved in plotting deadly attacks against American forces,\in Afghanistan, the Pentagon has said.\ The US forces launched the strikes on October 23 in Kunar\Province, targeting Faruq al-Qatani and Bilal al-Utabi, two of\al-Qaeda\\’s most senior leaders in Afghanistan, Pentagon Press\Secretary Peter Cook said yesterday.\ The US military believes the leaders were killed, but hasot yet confirmed whether the strikes were successful.\ \\"We are still assessing the results of the strikes, but\their demise would represent a significant blow to the\terrorist group\\’s presence in Afghanistan, which remains\committed to facilitating attacks against the United States,\our allies, and partners,\\" he said.\ Al-Qatani served as al-Qaeda\\’s emir for northeastern\Afghanistan and was assigned by the group\\’s leadership to\re-establish al-Qaeda safe havens in Afghanistan.\ He was a senior planner for attacks against the US and has\a long history of directing deadly attacks against US forces\and our coalition allies, Cook said.\ Likewise, al-Utabi is assessed to have been involved in\efforts to re-establish a safe haven in Afghanistan from which\to threaten the West and to recruit and train foreign\fighters.\ After an extensive period of surveillance, the US targeted\al-Qatani and al-Utabi at what was assessed as\command-and-control locations in remote areas of Kunar\province, Cook said.\ \\"If these strikes are determined to be successful,\eliminating these core leaders of al-Qaeda will disrupt\efforts to plot against the United States and our allies and\partners around the world, reduce the threat to our Afghan\partners, and assist their efforts to deny al-Qaeda safe haven\in Afghanistan,\\" Cook said. PTI LKJ MRJ AKJ\MRJ\

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