KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A member of an al-Qaida-linked group who helped finance attacks against Afghan and foreign forces has been captured in northern Afghanistan — the third operative from the group detained or killed in the past two weeks, NATO said Saturday.
Separately in the east, three employees of an Afghan construction company died Saturday when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb, police said.
Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces apprehended the unnamed militant with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan during a gun battle Friday in Almar district of Faryab province.
Faryab is a stronghold of the IMU, which is active in the north, but the province is otherwise relatively calm. The IMU, which was formed in 1991, originally aimed to set up an Islamic state in Uzbekistan, which borders Afghanistan. Later it expanded its goal to seeking an Islamic state across Central Asia.
On March 26, a joint Afghan and coalition force in Faryab killed the group's leader in Afghanistan, Makhdum Nusrat. The coalition said Nusrat had been leading attacks against Afghan and coalition troops in the north for the past eight months and was plotting the assassination of a member of parliament in Kabul.
Another IMU operative was captured on Friday in Kishim district of Badakhshan province. The coalition said the operative coordinated the preparation of suicide bomb vests and directed suicide attacks against Afghan officials and security forces in Kunduz, Badakhshan and Takhar provinces.
The construction company employees were traveling on a main highway between Khost and Paktia provinces when their four-wheel drive vehicle hit the bomb, said Youqib Khan, deputy police chief in Khost. He said a fourth employee of the company was injured in the blast in Dowamandia district.