Three Suspected Al Qaeda Members Killed in Afghanistan

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U.S.-led coalition troops and Afghan forces raided a building in southeastern Afghanistan on Friday, killing three suspected Al Qaeda members, as a roadside bomb in the east killed an Afghan man and his grandson, officials said.

The suspected Al Qaeda members were killed in the village of Ya'Qubi in southeastern Khost province, the coalition said in a statement. Three other suspects were detained.

"The purpose of this operation was to capture an Al Qaeda facilitator considered a significant threat to Afghan and coalition forces," the statement said.

CountryWatch: Afghanistan

Those targeted were linked to a number of attacks using car bombs and other explosive devices in the province, the coalition said.

An assortment of weaponry was found in the building, including AK-47 assault rifles with armor-piercing ammunition and a cache of grenades, it said.

Separately, militants detonated a roadside bomb Thursday, killing a man and his grandson selling vegetables in eastern Afghanistan.

The blast went off in Jalalabad while Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry — the top U.S. general in Afghanistan — visited a U.S. base in the city, but he apparently was not the target.

Eikenberry, who visited American troops hunting terrorists and leading reconstruction projects, also stopped at the Jalalabad hospital where five people wounded in the blast were taken.

"That says a lot about the enemy we are against and the immorality of that enemy," Eikenberry told The Associated Press at a U.S. base in Naray, a village next to the Pakistani border in eastern Kunar province.

Afghanistan has seen a surge in violence this year, particularly in the south where rebel supporters of the toppled Taliban regime have stepped up attacks. Afghan and NATO-led troops are trying to drive insurgents out of their safe havens, triggering the bloodiest fighting since the Taliban were ousted by a U.S.-led invasion in late 2001 for harboring Usama bin Laden.

"There is a security challenge in the south but the NATO forces are up to the challenge and are determined to push forward with development in the region," said U.S. spokesman Col. Tom Collins, who accompanied Eikenberry to Naray.

Meanwhile, a Kandahar provincial official said Taliban rebels and police clashed two days earlier in Panjwayi district, killing 12 militants and eight policemen.