US, Afghan forces rescue Pakistani Prime Minister’s son from al Qaeda

US, Afghan forces rescue Pakistani Prime Minister’s son from al Qaeda

U.S. and Afghan commandos rescued the son of a former Pakistani prime minister Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan.

Ali Haider Gilani (Photo: Dr Omar Zakhilwal)

This article has been updated, 2:50 PM.

Washington (Talk Media News) – U.S. and Afghan commandos rescued the son of a former Pakistani prime minister Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan, three years after he was kidnapped and held by militants linked to al Qaeda.

Ali Haider Gilani, thought to be in his 30s, is the son of former Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who served from 2008 to 2012.

“The counter-terror mission was planned and launched after evidence of terrorist activity was confirmed,” U.S. forces Afghanistan said in a statement.

Four suspected militants were killed during the operation in Paktika Province and no Americans were injured, according to the the U.S. military.

In a statement posted to Facebook, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal, said Gilani “is well and will be repatriated to his family [in Pakistan] soon.”

Spokesman of the U.S. Central Command, Air Force Co. Pat Ryder, said he is not aware of any other hostages rescued during the raid.

“This raid demonstrates the growing capabilities and effectiveness of the Afghan security forces and is an excellent example of the strong security and intelligence partnership between Afghan and U.S. forces under Operation Freedom’s Sentinel,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a written statement. “Working alongside our Afghan partners, we will continue to make it clear that there is no safe haven for terrorists in Afghanistan.”

On Friday, the NATO mission in Afghanistan, led by the U.S., issued a statement saying that coalition forces aided Afghan commandos in a raid of a Taliban prison over the weekend in Helmand province, freeing more than 60 people.

The U.S. has nearly 9,800 troops operating in Afghanistan spread between a NATO train-and-assist mission called Resolute Support and a U.S.-only counter-terrorism operation by the name Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

The counter terrorism operation grants the U.S. troops the ability to conduct defensive and offensive operations against militant groups that include al Qaeda and Islamic State, but only defensive maneuvers against the Taliban.

Last week, Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland, spokesman for the NATO mission, said that al Qaeda and the Taliban are beginning to work more closely together in Afghanistan.

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