Foreign forces in Afghanistan say they have killed the second most-wanted al-Qaeda leader in the country amid growing suspicions over the US-led war on terror.
NATO says Abu Hafs al-Najdi, also known as Abdul Ghani, has died in an airstrike in the eastern Kunar province two weeks ago.
The US-led military alliance says Najdi was a Saudi national and operated primarily from Kunar, which borders Pakistan.
He is blamed for running training camps and planning attacks on Afghan tribal leaders and foreigners.
It is not clear who ranks al-Qaeda members and who the number one is on the list. Media reports had previously announced Ayman al-Zawahiri as al-Qaeda's number two leader.
No photo of the so-called al-Qaeda number two has been released.
NATO says the strike also killed another top al-Qaeda leader known as Waqas.
The US invaded Afghanistan with the official objective of curbing militancy and bringing peace and stability to the region, however, after nine years the region remains unstable and militancy has expanded towards Pakistan.
In a separate development, newly released files from Wikileaks website shows an al-Qaeda operative worked for a British intelligence agency.
Leaked files say al-Qaeda militant, Adil Hadi al-Jazairi Ben Hamlili worked for Britain's MI6.
Hamlili is held at Guantanamo Bay prison on charges of bombing a luxury hotel and two churches in Pakistan in 2002.
US interrogators say they are perfectly certain that he was working for British and Canadian intelligence agencies at the time he conducted the terror act.
Meanwhile, other leaked files say the US security forces have arrested many al-Qaeda operatives who had with them the phone number of the state-run British Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC.
US forces say they have uncovered many extremist links to the phone number.
The BBC, however, insists that it always remains independent and impartial about incidents around the world.
Analysts say the US and its Western allies are looking for an excuse to expand its military operations in the troubled South and Central Asian region to secure bases near Russia and China.