President Biden addressed the nation Monday night, confirming that al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri was killed in Afghanistan over the weekend in a successful counterterrorism strike. A senior Administration Official said that the operation was successful, and there were no civilian casualties.
U.S. officials report that a drone strike in Afghanistan over the weekend killed Al Qaeda’s top leader, a key plotter of the Sept. 11 attacks.
It was the first attack in Afghanistan since American forces left last year and a significant victory for the Biden administration’s counterterrorism efforts. Ayman al-Zawahri was killed in the Kabul strike.
The American government considered Mr. Zawahri a central plotter of the Sept. 11 attacks since he was Al Qaeda’s No. 2 on that day. With his writing and arguments, he profoundly shaped Al Qaeda and its terrorist movements, even though he lacked the charisma of Bin Laden.
During the Biden administration, the U.S. military departed Afghanistan on Aug. 31, 2021, ending the United States’ longest war. At the time, Biden argued that al Qaeda had been defeated in Afghanistan before pulling out.
On Aug. 20, 2021, Biden stated that we went to Afghanistan to eliminate al Qaeda and find Osama bin Laden. That’s what we did.
Last September, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley warned lawmakers that terror groups like al Qaeda might be able to grow much faster after the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan.
During that time, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that continued U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan would be focused on countering terrorist threats, not Taliban attacks. Austin said that Al Qaeda, which used Afghanistan as a haven for planning the 9/11 attacks on the United States, would be kept under watch by the U.S.
Despite rumors that he died months ago, Ayman Al Zawahiri was seen in a video commemorating 20 years since 9/11.
In June 2011, after Usama bin Laden was shot and killed by U.S. forces at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, al Zawahiri was appointed bin Laden’s successor.
According to Zabihullah Mujahid, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s spokesman, an air strike was conducted on a house in Sherpur in Kabul city, and at first, they were unaware. The strike was condemned by a spokesperson.
A spokesperson said that American drones carried out the attack based on an investigation by the Islamic Emirate intelligence and security agencies. According to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, this attack on any pretext is a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement.
Moreover, such actions are a repetition of the failed experiences of the past 20 years and undermine U.S., Afghan, and regional interests. That repeated actions will damage the opportunities available, he added.