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US nabs al-Qaida-linked militants in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - NATO says U.S. and Afghan forces have arrested several key figures in a Taliban faction linked to al-Qaida.

In a statement, the coalition says a raid in Khost (hohst) province led to the capture of a deputy commander of the Haqqani group and several other group members. It describes the commander as a weapons supplier.

A second raid in another eastern province nabbed another Haqqani weapons supplier. NATO says the man had been involved in smuggling weapons, ammunition and bomb materials from Pakistan.

The U.S. considers the Haqqani group as one of the most dangerous Taliban groups because of its links to al-Qaida. The group is suspected of playing a major role in last December's bombing of a CIA base in Khost as well as a series of attacks in the capital, Kabul.

It is based in the western border area of Pakistan. Pakistani authorities have resisted U.S. calls to launch a ground operation against the Haqqani network, saying its forces are overstretched.

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