Report: Afghan, U.S. Forces Arrest Key Al Qaeda Member

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U.S. and Afghan forces have arrested a senior al Qaeda member in southeastern Afghanistan, a provincial police chief said Monday.

The troops detained four Afghans, an Arab and a Pakistani on Thursday in the city of Khost, said Mohammad Ayub, the provincial police chief.

"I'm not sure if this Arab is the one of the four Arabs who escaped from Bagram last year, but what I can tell you is that he is an important al Qaeda member," Ayub said, referring to the U.S. prison in Bagram.

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Pakistan's The News daily reported on Monday that one of the detainees was Abu Nasir al-Qahtani, one of four Arab al Qaeda operatives who escaped from the U.S. prison in Bagram in July 2005.

U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick on Monday declined to identify or confirm the name of the detainee.

Coalition forces in Afghanistan last week said that a "known al Qaeda terrorist" and five other extremists were arrested on Nov. 6 near Khost city.

It said the detainee has "known ties to al Qaeda leadership," and was detained with Saudi and Pakistani nationals.

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