U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter says a U.S. airstrike has killed a senior Al-Qaida operational commander in eastern Afghanistan.

He said in a statement Friday that the airstrike killed Abu Khalil Al-Sudani on July 11.

Carter called Al-Sudani a senior shura member and head of Al-Qaida suicide and explosive operations, and said he is directly linked to plots to attack the United States.

He said Al-Sudani also directed operations against coalition, Afghan and Pakistani forces, and maintained a close association with Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaida.

Carter added that two other "violent extremists" were killed in the airstrike. He did not name the two others.

The strike was in the Bermal district of Paktika province.