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U.S.-led troops mounted overnight raids on suspected al-Qaida compounds in eastern Afghanistan, killing four people and detaining several others, officials said Sunday.

The U.S. military said "several Arab fighters" were among the suspects killed or detained in the operation in Nangarhar province, although a local official said only Afghans survived.

News of the operation came as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan told the Associated Press that al-Qaida suspects continued to slip across the nearby Pakistani border.

The overnight attack targeted several compounds that "had clear connections to al-Qaida," the military said in a statement.

It said the operation was launched partly on the basis of a tip from local residents and also netted a haul of weapons, explosives and cash.

Faizan ul-Haq, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said Afghan and U.S. soldiers took part in the raid in Bati Kot district of Nangarhar.

He said the four people who died were burned beyond recognition. He added that five people were detained.

"We are not sure if they burned themselves before the operation started or if the Americans somehow burned them," ul-Haq said.

The mountainous border zone is also a suspected hiding place for Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri.

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