Joe Biden says the United States killed al-Qaeda chief al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan

Joe Biden says the United States killed al-Qaeda chief al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan – Mail Bonus

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President Joe Biden announced Monday that the United States had killed al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists and the suspected mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

In a televised address, Biden said the strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, had been carried out on Saturday. “I gave the final approval to go get him,” he said, adding that no civilians had been injured.

“Justice has been served and this terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said.

A senior administration official said Zawahiri had been killed on the balcony of a house in Kabul in a drone strike and that there had been no American boots on the ground in Afghanistan.

The official said Zawahiri’s presence in the Afghan capital, Kabul, was a “clear violation” of an agreement the Taliban had made with the United States in Doha in 2020 that paved the way for a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

It was the first known US over-the-horizon attack on an al-Qaeda target in Afghanistan since US forces withdrew from the country on August 31, 2021.

Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who grew up in a comfortable home in Cairo before turning to violent radicalism, had been on the run for 20 years since the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.

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

Over the weekend, the Afghan Interior Ministry denied reports circulating on social media of a drone attack in Kabul, telling AFP that a missile had hit an “empty house” in the capital and caused no casualties.

However, early Tuesday in Kabul, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that an “airstrike” had been carried out on a residence in the city’s Sherpur area.

“The nature of the incident was not disclosed at first. The security and intelligence agencies of the Islamic Emirate investigated the incident and found in their preliminary investigations that the attack was carried out by US drones,” it said on Twitter.

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In recent months, the Taliban have largely barred the media from covering the aftermath of security incidents and deny or downplay casualties.

The news comes a month before the first anniversary of the final withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, leaving the country in the hands of Taliban insurgents who fought Western forces for the past two decades.

The United States withdrew after the Taliban signed the Doha agreement in 2020, pledging not to allow Afghanistan to be used again as a battleground for global jihadism, but experts believe the group has never severed its ties to al-Qaeda.

– Doctor-turned-jihadist Zawahiri, 71, lacked the powerful charisma that helped bin Laden rally jihadists around the world, but willingly channeled his analytical skills into al-Qaeda’s cause.

He was considered the top strategist – the real mastermind behind operations including the 9/11 attacks, as well as bin Laden’s personal physician.

Zawahiri’s father was a renowned physician and his grandfather a prayer leader at the Al-Azhar Institute in Cairo, the highest authority for Sunni Muslims.

He became involved in Egypt’s radical Muslim community at a young age and published several books on Islamic fundamentalism, which came to many to represent the radical Islamist movement.

He left Egypt in the mid-1980s and headed for the city of Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan, where the resistance against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan was based.

It was at that time, when thousands of Islamist fighters flooded into Afghanistan in the 1980s, that Zawahiri and bin Laden met.

In the early 1990s, Zawahiri is believed to have lived in Europe before joining bin Laden in Sudan or Afghanistan.

In 1998, he was one of five signatories to bin Laden’s “fatwa” calling for attacks on Americans, and he began making regular appearances alongside the al-Qaeda leader.

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