Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on strikes against al-Qaida leaders in Afghanistan

Release No: 16-202 Dec. 20, 2016 PRINT | E-MAIL
Dec. 19, 2016 — A precision airstrike carried out by the U.S. military on Oct. 23 near Kunar, Afghanistan, killed three senior al-Qaida leaders. Previously DoD disclosed that the strike eliminated Faruq al-Qatani the group's emir for Eastern Afghanistan. The department has now determined the same strike also killed Bilal al-Utabyi, al-Qatani's deputy as well as Abd al-Wahid al-Junabi, a senior al-Qaida explosives expert. All three were actively involved in carrying out and plotting terror 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. This strike is further evidence that those who seek us harm are not beyond our reach.
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