Ayman al-Zawahiri was one of the most sought terrorists in the world and is believed to be the mastermind behind the events that occurred on September 11, 2001. On Monday (August 1), President Joe Biden made the announcement that the United States had assassinated al-Zawahiri.
Biden stated that the strike that took place in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday had been carried out in an address that was broadcast on television. He added that he had “given the final authority to go grab him,” adding that there had been no civilian casualties during the operation.
Biden stated that “justice has been delivered” and that the terrorist commander in question had passed away.
He went on to say that he believed this would help bring “closure” to the families of those who had lost loved ones in the attacks of September 11, 2001.
He remarked, “It is my hope that this resolute step will provide one more measure of closure,” and that is exactly what he hopes will happen.
According to a senior administration official, Zawahiri was murdered on the balcony of a residence in Kabul by a drone attack. This person also stated that there were no US boots on the ground in Afghanistan at the time of his death.
According to the official, Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul was a “obvious violation” of a deal the Taliban had struck with the United States in Doha in 2020 that prepared the way for the United States to withdraw from Afghanistan. The deal paved the ground for the US exit from Afghanistan.
“We count on them to uphold the obligations outlined in the Doha accord. And the fact that Zawahiri was found to be present in the central business district of Kabul was a blatant breach of that,” according to a senior official in the administration.
Moving forward with the Taliban, we will make it a priority to hold them accountable for their actions.
Since the United States military pulled out of Afghanistan on August 31, 2021, this was the first known hit by the United States against an Al-Qaeda target in Afghanistan that was carried out using over-the-horizon strikes.
Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who had an affluent upbringing in Cairo before turning to violent radicalism, had been on the run for the past 20 years, ever since the assaults on September 11 that murdered over 3,000 people in the United States. Zawahiri was a member of al-Qaeda.
He gained control of Al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in 2011 by special forces from the United States, and there was a US bounty of $25 million on his head at the time.
In recent years, there have been multiple rumors that Zawahiri has passed away, and for a long time, it has been reported that he has been in ill condition.
According to the website Rewards for Justice, Zawahiri is believed to have conspired with other senior members of Al-Qaeda to plan the attack on the USS Cole naval vessel that took place in Yemen on October 12, 2000. This attack resulted in the deaths of 17 United States sailors and injured more than 30 others.
In the United States, he was indicted for his role in the bombings that took place on August 7, 1998, at the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. These bombs resulted in the deaths of 224 people and the injuries of more than 5,000 others.
Before the strike, Zawahiri’s whereabouts were a mystery; it had been speculated variously that he was either in the tribal area of Pakistan or somewhere inside Afghanistan.
The claims that he had passed away were debunked by a video that was published in April and showed him praising an Indian Muslim woman for disobeying a prohibition on wearing an Islamic head scarf. In the video, he congratulated the woman for defying the ban.
A missile reportedly hit “an empty house” in Kabul over the weekend, but there were no casualties as a result of the attack, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry, which refuted allegations that were spreading on social media about a drone attack in the capital city.
On the other hand, Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, tweeted early on Tuesday morning in Kabul that a “aerial strike” had been carried out on a residence in the Sherpur neighborhood of the city.
“At first, details about what exactly had happened were kept under wraps. The security and intelligence services of the Islamic Emirate conducted an investigation into the incident, and the preliminary findings of those investigations revealed that the attack was carried out by drones operated by the United States of America,” his tweet claimed.
Over the past few months, the Taliban have mainly prevented the media from reporting on the aftermath of security incidents. Additionally, they regularly deny or minimize the number of casualties that have occurred.
The revelation comes a week before the first anniversary of the complete withdrawal of US soldiers from Afghanistan, which left the country under the control of the Taliban insurgency, which fought Western forces throughout the course of the preceding two decades.
The United States withdrew from Afghanistan after the Taliban made a vow that they would not allow the country to be used as a springboard for worldwide terrorism again. However, many scholars believe that the Taliban never severed its relations with Al-Qaeda.
Zawahiri, who was 71 at the time, did not possess the powerful charisma that enabled bin Laden to mobilize fighters all over the world; rather, he freely channeled his analytical skills into the cause of Al-Qaeda.
It was claimed that he was the primary strategist, the real genius behind the activities, including the assaults on September 11, and that he also served as bin Laden’s personal physician.
Zawahiri’s grandfather was a prayer leader at the Al-Azhar institute in Cairo, which is considered to be the greatest authority for Sunni Muslims. Zawahiri’s father was a well-known surgeon.
He produced multiple works on Islamic fundamentalism, which came to be seen by many as a symbol of the extremist Islamist movement. He became connected with Egypt’s radical Muslim society at an early age.
In the middle of the 1980s, he fled Egypt and made his way to the city of Peshawar in Pakistan’s northwest, which was the center of the resistance movement against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
Zawahiri and bin Laden first crossed paths in Afghanistan in the 1980s, at a period when the country was being overrun by thousands of Islamic extremists seeking to fight.
It is thought that Zawahiri lived in Europe during the early 1990s before joining bin Laden in Sudan or Afghanistan. This would have occurred before Zawahiri moved to Sudan.
In 1998, he was one of five individuals who signed bin Laden’s “fatwa,” which called for strikes against Americans, and he began making regular appearances at the side of the leader of Al-Qaeda.