A high-ranking al-Qaida commander was killed in a U.S. air strike in Afghanistan, according to a military statement released by U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter Friday.
Abu Kahlil al-Sudani was killed during United States lead attack in Paktika, a southeastern Afghan province bordering Pakistan, on July 11, according to CNN.
The al-Qaida operative lead suicide and explosive operations for the terrorist group and has been directly linked to plans for external attacks against the United States, according to the statement.
“We will continue to counter violent extremism in the region and around the world, including efforts to deliver a lasting defeat to ISIL,” Carter said.
Al-Sudani has been involved in plots against the United States as well as Afghan and Pakistani forces, Defense Department officials said.
Al-Sudani was one of three known violent extremists killed in the strike, according to The New York Times.
The statement describes Sudani as a close associate of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri.
A U.S. official in Kabul said al-Sudani had also been close to Osama bin Laden before his death. Al-Sudani had fought alongside him in the 10-year war that followed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, according to Business Insider.
The air strike will have a significant impact on the War on Terror, according to the official.
“The death of al-Sudani will further degrade Al-Qaeda operations across the globe,” he said.