11 Al Qaeda affiliates killed in Helmand airstrike

The Ministry of Defense on Sunday said 11 Al Qaeda affiliates were killed in an airstrike by Afghan forces in Nawa district of southern Helmand province.

The airstrike was carried out last night, the ministry said in a statement, adding that two key Taliban figures were also killed in the strike and another two wounded.

The MoD statement said the dead Taliban included Massoud Ahmad aka Haqbin, who harbored the Al Qaeda affiliates.

The statement said the slain Al Qaeda members trained Taliban militants on planting landmines, using sniper guns and night vision goggles.

Two days ago, four Al Qaeda men were killed in the same district during an airstrike.

Recently, first vice president Amarullah Saleh had said the Taliban still maintained close relationship with Al Qaeda network.