NATO: former bin Laden associate captured

June 2, 2011 - 8:29 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — NATO said Thursday it captured a senior al-Qaida operative and former Osama bin Laden associate in northern Afghanistan.

NATO said the man was based in Pakistan and was a former associate of bin Laden, who was killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan on May 2. NATO also said the captured man may have been with the al-Qaida leader in 2001.

NATO did not release the detainee's name nor other details except to say he was captured Wednesday during an operation in Nahri Shahi, in northern Balkh province.

NATO said he is one of several senior al-Qaida and Taliban insurgents captured in the province since February. It said a total of 35 people associated with al-Qaida and the Taliban have been captured in Balkh during that period.

Also in the north, the German army said one of its soldiers was killed and five others were wounded in a bomb attack in the province of Baghlan.

A spokesman for the Bundeswehr Operations Command in Potsdam, Germany, said the attack on the German soldiers took place Thursday morning about 22 miles (35 kilometers) south of the city of Kunduz.

The spokesman, who was talking on condition of anonymity in line with department policy, said the soldiers were in a German Marder tank when they were attacked.

The soldiers were taken to a German base in Kunduz by helicopter. It was not clear how severely injured the wounded were or who was behind the attack.

A Polish soldier also died in combat Thursday in an insurgent attack that left two others injured in Ghazni province, Poland's military said.

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Associated Press writer Kirsten Grieshaber contributed from Berlin.