KABUL (Reuters) – U.S. forces in Afghanistan have captured an al Qaeda operative who escaped from the main U.S. military prison in the country last year, a Pakistani newspaper reported on Monday.
The man, identified as Abu Nasir al-Qahtani, was captured recently in the southeastern Afghan province of Khost, the News newspaper said, citing Taliban supporters in the Pakistani border region of North Waziristan.
The U.S. military said on November 6 a “known al Qaeda operative and five other extremists” had been captured during an operation near Khost town early that day.
It did not identify any of those captured. A U.S. military spokesman on Monday referred queries to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Al-Qahtani has been referred to in some news reports as Mohammad Jafar Jamal al-Kahtani.
Four Arab al Qaeda militants escaped from the heavily fortified U.S. detention center at Bagram air base, the U.S. military’s main base in Afghanistan, 50 km (30 miles) north of Kabul, on July 11 last year.
At the time, the U.S. military declined to identify them but described them as “dangerous enemy combatants.”
One of the escapees was one of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s top global lieutenants, Omar Faruq.
British troops in Iraq’s second biggest city, Basra, shot Faruq dead on September 25 this year as he resisted arrest during a pre-dawn raid on his hideout.
U.S. leaders had described Faruq as the top al Qaeda operative in southeast Asia. He was caught in Indonesia in 2002 and was held at Bagram until his escape.