The US killed al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike in Afghanistan over the weekend, within the first identified counter-terrorism operation within the nation because it fell to the Taliban final yr.
“After rigorously contemplating clear and convincing proof of [Zawahiri’s] location, I authorised a precision strike that might take away him from the battlefield as soon as and for all,” President Joe Biden stated on the White Home on Monday.
“My administration will proceed to vigilantly monitor and handle threats from al-Qaeda regardless of the place they emanate from,” he added.
Zawahiri was Osama bin Laden’s second-in-command and took management of al-Qaeda after US Navy Seals killed bin Laden in a raid in 2011.
The US learnt that Zawahiri’s household had moved to a secure home in Kabul and later positioned the al-Qaeda chief there. Senior administration officers have been briefed in regards to the intelligence in April, and later knowledgeable the president about Zawahiri’s whereabouts.
On a number of events, Zawahiri was noticed on the balcony of the secure home, and he was finally struck there over the weekend. His household was elsewhere in the home when the operation occurred and was not focused or hit, a senior US administration official stated.
Senior officers of the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani community have been conscious of Zawahiri’s location in Kabul, the US administration official stated. Biden authorised the operation on July 25, the official added.
Zawahiri is believed to be the one one that died within the operation. The US official stated the drone strike that killed Zawahiri passed off on Sunday and that two Hellfire missiles have been fired.
“I made a promise to the American those that we might proceed to conduct efficient counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan and past. We’ve finished simply that,” Biden stated, talking about one yr after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Zawahiri, a doctor, beforehand led the Egyptian Islamic Jihad earlier than the group merged with al-Qaeda. He later climbed the ladder of the phobia organisation.
He’s believed to have plotted the October 2000 assault on the USS Cole in Yemen that killed 17 US service members, and was additionally an architect of the September 11, 2001 terrorist assaults that killed practically 3,000 individuals.
He was indicted by the US for his alleged function within the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
The US state division had provided a reward of as much as $25mn for data resulting in Zawahiri.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers praised the operation and the US safety officers who took half, although some Republicans stated it underscored al-Qaeda’s means to function in Afghanistan.
“Our chaotic and lethal withdrawal from Afghanistan opened the door for al-Qaeda to function freely contained in the nation to conduct exterior operations in opposition to the US and our allies once more,” stated Michael McCaul, the highest Republican on the Home overseas affairs committee.
Washington’s allies additionally praised the operation. “Robust job professionally finished by our US allies,” Richard Moore, the pinnacle of Britain’s MI6, wrote on Twitter. “Fruits of a protracted, shared effort since 9/11 to remove the menace posed by Zawahiri — a person accountable, along with his poisonous creed, for the demise of so many these previous three a long time.”
A Taliban spokesperson stated the operation violated worldwide rules and the Doha Settlement, the US accord with the Taliban that led to the withdrawal of American forces final yr.
The senior administration official stated Zawahiri’s presence in downtown Kabul had violated the settlement.