US President Joe Biden has confirmed that CIA has killed the al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri with a drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan. It was a second major blow to the terrorist network after the killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in 2011. The US forces said that bin Laden’s successor was on the balcony of his house when the drone fired 2 missiles at him. They reported that only the 71-year-old terrorist was killed in the precision attack and nobody else was harmed. Zawahiri had a 25 million USD bounty on his head for coordinating with bin Laden in 9/11 attacks.
Who was Ayman al-Zawahiri?
Ayman al-Zawahiri was a physician and theologian from Egypt and belonged to a wealthy family. He was arrested in 1981 in connection to plotting the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. However, Sadat was assasinated by another militant cell led by army officer Khalid Ahmed Showky El Islambouli. After getting released from jail, he got involved with various international terrorists outfits. Over the years, he had been implicated in some of the most high-profile killings in the US, Egypt, Pakistan, and Sudan.
Egyptian authorities sentenced Zawahiri and his brother to death in 1999 for anti-government attacks. Moreover, under his leadership, terrorist group Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) carried out an attack on Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan in 1995. He was also named in the assasination of Pakistan’s first woman Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
The US indicted him for playing a part in truck bombings at its embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Kenya that killed over 200 people. He was also wanted for USS Cole bombing in 2000. Under his command, al-Qaeda terrorists launched a suicide attack against US Navy’s guided missile destroyer, USS Cole, while the vessel was filling up gas from Aden harbour in Yemen.
After taking over al-Qaeda post bin Laden’s death, Zawahiri remained a distant and marginal operative, who issued messages occasionally. Other Islamist military groups such as ISIS gained more influence than any al-Qaeda member.
Justice Has Been Delivered
POTUS appeared in a special broadcast from White House to announce that he approved the drone strike on Ayman al-Zawahiri. He said Zawahiri was one of the most wanted terrorists, whose death would bring closure to families of 3000 victims of 9/11 attacks. Biden also repeated that Afghanistan would never be a home to terrorists again. He also warned that if anybody was a threat, US forces would find them and kill them.
Taliban Condemn the Attack
This was the first US intervention in Afghanistan since Taliban tookover the country and forced American troops to leave in 2020. There are many things that don’t make sense about that withdrawal but the US claims that it will continue its “war on terror”. On the other hand, the Taliban called this killing a “violation of international principles”. The US signed a deal with the Taliban, leading to its withdrawal in exchange for the militant group to stop al-Qaeda and and other terrorist outfits from operating in Afghanistan. The Taliban spokesperson blamed the US for breaking the peace deal while the US blames the Taliban for breaking it by harbouring al-Qaeda terrorists like Ayman al-Zawahiri. The US said that the Taliban not only betrayed Afghan people but also betrayed thier own promise of getting recognized by the international community.