Defence & Security

US drone strike kills Al Qaeda leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan

By Paul Michael

United States media reports have stated that Al Qaeda leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri has been killed by a US airstrike in Afghanistan.

According to the reports, the US conducted a counterterrorism operation against Al Qaeda, leading to the death of Al-Zawahiri.

Sky News quoted a senior official in President Joe Biden’s administration to have said, “Over the weekend, the United States conducted a counterterrorism operation against a significant Al Qaeda target in Afghanistan.

“The operation was successful and there were no civilian casualties.”

Biden was due to speak from the balcony of the White House Blue Room as he remained in isolation in the residence while he continued to test positive for COVID-19.

The death of Al-Zawahiri would be the biggest blow to Al Qaeda since its founder Osama Bin Laden was killed by the US in 2011.

A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a drone strike was carried out by the CIA in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday.

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Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that a strike took place and strongly condemned it, calling it a violation of “international principles”.

Speaking on 31 August 2021, after the last US troops left Afghanistan, Biden said the US would not let up on its fight against terrorism in that country or elsewhere.

“We will maintain the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries,” he had said.

“We just don’t need to fight a ground war to do it,” he added.

Previewing the strike that would occur 11 months later, Biden had said at the time: “We have what’s called over-the-horizon capabilities, which means we can strike terrorists and targets without American boots on the ground – or very few if needed.”

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