Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri was killed during a special operation in Afghanistan. “Justice has been done and this terrorist leader is no more. We never back down,” Joe Biden said.
At a briefing, a White House spokeswoman said last Sunday a precision strike was carried out on a house in the Afghan capital where the al-Qaeda leader had recently been hiding:
“For several months, our confidence that Zawahiri was in this place in Kabul grew. For a long time, we noticed Zawahiri on the balcony, where he was eventually hit.”
She specified that two Hellfire missiles were fired from a drone. As a result of an accurate strike, neither the civilians of the area nor the relatives of Zawahiri who were in the house were injured.
An administration official told reporters that Zawahiri’s presence in the Afghan capital was a clear violation of a 2020 agreement in which the Taliban promised to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism:
“We expect them to abide by the terms of the agreement signed in Doha. And Zawahiri’s presence in central Kabul was a clear violation of those terms. We will continue to hold the Taliban to account.”
According to the President of the United States, earlier the American secret services became aware of the whereabouts of the leader of Al-Qaeda. Biden noted, quoted air force:
“He left a trail of murder and violence against American citizens, American military personnel, American diplomats and American interests.”
The special operation was the first American strike against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan since the withdrawal of American troops in August last year. Ayman Zawahiri was identified as the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and has been on the run ever since. He led al-Qaeda after the 2011 assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, also as a result of an American special operation. The US has offered a $25 million reward for information on Zawahiri’s whereabouts.
A spokesman for the Taliban movement called the US intelligence operation a violation of international principles:
“Such actions are a repetition of the bad experience of the past 20 years and are contrary to the interests of the United States, Afghanistan and the entire region.”
In his televised address, Joe Biden confirmed that the CIA special operation was carried out on his orders. He said that US intelligence agencies had not warned the Taliban about the impending operation, but the US hoped for further cooperation with the new Afghan authorities.