US kills Al-Qaeda chief in Kabul drone strike

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— CNN
— CNN

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden introduced Monday that the USA had killed Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike in Kabul.

In a somber televised deal with, Biden mentioned he gave the ultimate go-ahead for the high-precision strike that efficiently focused Zawahiri within the Afghan capital over the weekend.

“Justice has been delivered and he’s no extra,” Biden mentioned, including that he hoped Zawahiri’s dying would carry “closure” to households of the three,000 individuals killed in the USA on 9/11.

A senior administration official mentioned Zawahiri was on the balcony of a home in Kabul when he was focused with two Hellfire missiles, an hour after dawn on July 31, and that there had been no US boots on the bottom in Afghanistan.

“We’re not conscious of him ever leaving the protected home. We recognized Zawahiri on a number of events for sustained durations of time on the balcony of the place he was finally struck,” the official mentioned.

In keeping with the official’s account, the president gave his inexperienced gentle for the strike on July 25 — as he was recovering in isolation from COVID-19. Biden mentioned there have been no civilian casualties within the operation.

The US official referred to as Zawahiri’s presence within the Afghan capital Kabul a “clear violation” of a deal the Taliban had signed with the US in Doha in 2020 that paved the way in which for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

It was the primary recognized over-the-horizon strike by the USA on an Al-Qaeda goal in Afghanistan since American forces withdrew from the nation on August 31, 2021.

Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who grew up in a cushty Cairo family earlier than turning to violent radicalism, had been on the run for 20 years because the 9/11 assaults.

He took over Al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed by US particular forces in Pakistan in 2011, and had a $25 million US bounty on his head.

Over the weekend the Afghan inside ministry denied stories circulating on social media of a drone strike in Kabul, telling AFP a rocket struck “an empty home” within the capital, inflicting no casualties.

Early Tuesday in Kabul, nonetheless, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that an “aerial assault” was carried out on a residence within the Sherpur space of the town.

“The character of the incident was not revealed at first. The safety and intelligence businesses of the Islamic Emirate investigated the incident and located of their preliminary investigations that the assault was carried out by American drones,” his tweet mentioned.

The information comes a month earlier than the primary anniversary of the ultimate withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, leaving the nation within the management of the Taliban insurgency that fought Western forces over the previous twenty years.

Underneath the 2020 Doha deal, the Taliban promised to not enable Afghanistan for use once more as a launchpad for terrorism, however specialists imagine the group by no means broke their ties with Al-Qaeda.

“What we all know is that the senior Haqqani Taliban have been conscious of his presence in Kabul,” the Biden official mentioned.

Zawahiri, 71, was believed to be the primary strategist — the actual mastermind who steered operations, together with the September 11 assaults, in addition to bin Laden’s private physician.

Al-Qaeda is believed to have been degraded within the years because the US invasion of Afghanistan, and the White Home official mentioned Zawahiri was “one of many final remaining figures who carried this sort of significance.”

The group, agreed Soufan Middle researcher Colin Clarke, is “at a crossroads.”

“Regardless of Zawahiri’s management, which minimized AQ’s losses whereas rebuilding, the group nonetheless faces critical challenges going ahead. For one, there’s the query of who will lead al Qaeda after Zawahiri’s gone,” he mentioned.

Zawahiri’s father was a famend doctor and his grandfather a prayer chief at Cairo’s Al-Azhar institute, the best authority for Muslims.

He turned concerned with Egypt’s Muslim neighborhood at a younger age and revealed a number of books which got here for a lot of to represent his motion.

He left Egypt within the mid-Nineteen Eighties, heading for Pakistan’s northwestern metropolis of Peshawar the place the resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan was based mostly.

It was at the moment, when 1000’s of Islamist fighters flooded into Afghanistan in the course of the Nineteen Eighties, that Zawahiri and bin Laden met, and in 1998 he turned one in every of 5 signatories to bin Laden’s “fatwa” calling for assaults towards Individuals.

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