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Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden’s deputy, was killed in a US drone strike

ayman al zawahiri

United State President Joe Biden announced on Monday that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaeda, had been killed in a drone strike at a hideout in Kabul, adding that the families of the 9/11 terrorist attacks had received “justice.”

Since US special forces killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, Ayman Zawahiri‘s murder has dealt Al-Qaeda its heaviest blow, and it raises doubts about the Taliban’s pledge not to harbor extremist organizations.

Since Washington withdrew its soldiers from Afghanistan on August 31 of last year, days after the Taliban retook power, it is known that this was the first over-the-horizon US strike on a target in Afghanistan.

In a somber televised speech, Biden declared that “justice has been served and this terrorist leader is no more,” adding that he hoped Zawahiri’s passing would provide “closure” for the families of the 3,000 people who died on September 11, 2001, in the USA.

Zawahiri was thought to be both bin Laden’s personal physician and the brains behind Al-Qaeda‘s operations, including the 9/11 attacks.

The 71-year-old Egyptian was on the balcony of a three-story residence in the Afghan capital when two Hellfire missiles were fired at him shortly after daybreak on Sunday, according to a senior administration official.

The official stated, “We spotted Zawahiri repeatedly for sustained periods of time on the balcony where he was ultimately struck.”

The residence is situated in Sherpur, one of Kabul’s affluent neighborhoods, where senior Taliban officials and commanders reside in multiple villas.

The interior ministry earlier refuted claims that a drone had carried out a strike, saying AFP that a rocket had instead hit “an empty house” in Kabul with no one inside.

However, the Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that a “aerial attack” had been conducted early on Tuesday.

He said that the incident’s nature was not first been clarified.

The Islamic Emirate’s security and intelligence organizations looked into the situation and determined from their first investigations that American drones were used in the strike.

Grossly violated

Although Biden did not mention the Taliban in his televised speech, Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that the Islamist organization had “grossly broken the Doha Agreement” by “hosting and sheltering” Zawahiri, which cleared for America’s withdrawal.

In response, Zabihullah charged that Washington had violated the 2020 agreement.

“Such actions are a repetition of the failed experiences of the past 20 years and are against the interests of the United States of America, Afghanistan, and the region,” Zabihullah said.

Since the 9/11 attacks, Zawahiri, who was raised in a privileged Cairo home before embracing deadly radicalism, had been on the run.

After Bin Laden was dead, he claimed control of Al-Qaeda and a $25 million US bounty was placed on his head.

The news of his demise comes one month before the first anniversary of the US military’s full withdrawal from Afghanistan, handing the nation over to the Taliban insurgency, who had fought against Western forces for 20 years.

According to the terms of the Doha Agreement, the Taliban committed to prevent the use of Afghanistan as a base for global jihad, but analysts think the group never severed relationships with Al-Qaeda.

The senior US official stated, “What we know is that the senior Haqqani Taliban were aware of his presence in Kabul.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, the interior minister for Afghanistan, is also the leader of the dreaded Haqqani Network, a vicious branch of the Taliban that has been deemed a “veritable arm” of Pakistani intelligence and is responsible for some of the greatest carnage in the last 20 years.

Locals in Sherpur told AFP that they had long believed that the targeted home, which was encircled by high walls and barbed wire and had a green cloth covering the balcony where Zawahiri was allegedly slain, was empty.

“We have not seen anybody living there for almost a year,” said an employee of a nearby office.

“It has always been in dark, with not a single bulb lit.”

Doctor turned jihadist

Zawahiri voluntarily provided his analytical skills to the Al-Qaeda cause despite lacking the powerful charm that helped bin Laden inspire Islamists around the globe.

Zawahiri was described as “one of the last remaining individuals with this type of relevance” by a White House official despite the fact that the organisation is thought to have declined since the US invasion of Afghanistan.

According to researcher Colin Clarke of the Soufan Center, the organization is “at a crossroads.”


“Despite Zawahiri’s leadership, which minimized AQ’s losses while rebuilding, the group still faces serious challenges going forward. For one, there’s the question of who will lead Al-Qaeda after Zawahiri’s gone.”

Zawahiri’s grandfather led prayers at Cairo’s Al-Azhar Institute, the supreme Sunni Muslim authority, and his father was a well-known physician.

Younger than most, he became active in Egypt’s extreme Islamist group and wrote several works that have come to represent the movement.

He departed Egypt in the middle of the 1980s, traveling to Peshawar in northwest Pakistan, the headquarters of the Afghan resistance against Soviet rule.

At the time of Zawahiri’s initial encounter with bin Laden, thousands of Islamist fighters were flowing into Afghanistan.

He joined the group of five people who signed bin Laden’s “fatwa,” which called for strikes against Americans, in 1998.

Jihadist watchdog SITE reported that while some militants disputed the validity of the story that he had died, others thought Zawahiri had attained his goal of “martyrdom.”



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