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Al-Qaida Commander in Afghanistan Reported Killed


A statement posted on an Islamist Web site says an al-Qaida field commander in Afghanistan has been killed by a U.S. airstrike.

The message, dated July 14 and signed by an al-Qaida leader, says Abu Abdullah al-Shami was killed, but it does not specify when or where.

Shami was one of four al-Qaida inmates to escape from the U.S. military prison in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2005.

In another development, a NATO official says ground troops backed by air power killed more than 20 suspected Taliban in Ghazni province on Wednesday after a roadside bomb wounded NATO soldiers.

In other violence, a bomb blast wounded at least two people outside the Pakistani consulate in the western Afghan city of Herat Thursday.

Authorities say the bomb, attached to a bicycle, wounded a police guard and at least one civilian.

Pakistan's foreign ministry says it holds the Afghan government responsible for the safety and security of its personnel in its embassy in Kabul and consulates in Herat, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Mazar-i-Sharif.

Relations have been strained between Pakistan and Afghanistan, with the Afghan government accusing Pakistan of not doing enough to crack down on militants in its tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

Afghan officials also have accused Pakistan's intelligence agency of being involved in a suicide attack outside the Indian embassy in Kabul this month.

Pakistan has denied those claims.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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