Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri killed in US drone strike in Afghanistan

He added: “We will always remain vigilant and we will act and we will always do what is necessary to ensure the safety and security of America and the rest of the world.”

The assassination of Al-Zawahiri is a major victory for the Biden administration’s counter-terrorism efforts in the region.

The US president faced serious criticism after the withdrawal, which took place a year ago this month.

A senior US official said the successful attack proved America could “identify and locate even the world’s most wanted terrorist” without US troops on the ground.

Taliban ‘knew Al-Zawahiri was in Kabul’, US claims

The official added that senior Haqqani Taliban figures were “aware of Al-Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul” and took action to hide it in the hours following the drone strike.

“The Taliban Haqqani members have acted quickly to relocate Zawahiri’s wife, his daughter and her children, in line with a wider effort to cover up that they had lived in the state house,” the official said.

Al-Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul was a “clear violation” of the 2020 agreement the Taliban signed with the Trump administration, in which they pledged not to allow Afghanistan to become a haven for international terrorism, the official said. .

“If we continue with the Taliban, we will continue to hold them accountable,” the senior official said.

In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed and strongly condemned a strike, calling it a violation of “international principles and the Doha Agreement”.

The operation was praised by Republican Congressman and veteran Adam Kinzinger.

“It’s a moral victory,” he told CNN. “Zawahiri has been a target of the United States for decades. It’s a real victory in terms of making America safer.”

The Man Who Shaped Bin Laden

Al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian-born surgeon, was bin Laden’s right-hand man and was seen as a clear favorite to take charge of al-Qaeda.

Their bond was forged in the late 1980s, when Al-Zawahiri reportedly treated bin Laden in the caves of Afghanistan when Soviet bombing shook the mountains around them.

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