ERBIL, Iraq - - A U.S. air strike in Afghanistan has killed a high-ranking al Qaeda operational commander, the Pentagon said on Friday.

The Pentagon named the target of the strike as Abu Khalil al-Sudani, saying he was killed in a July 11 strike in the Bermal district of Afghanistan's Paktika province.

In a statement, the Pentagon said he was head of al Qaeda "suicide and explosives operations" and was linked to external attack plotting against the United States.