President Biden announced today that Ayman Al Zawahiri, al Qaeda leader who played a pivotal role in executing the attacks of September 11th, was killed in a drone strike.
The Pentagon conducted a “precision counterterrorism operation,” that killed Zawahiri, who served as Usama bin Laden’s right hand man during and after the terror attacks of 2001, and replaced bin Laden after his death.
“Now, justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more. People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer. The United States continues to demonstrate our resolve and our capacity to defend the American people against those who seek to do us harm. We make it clear again tonight that, no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out.”
POTUS continued that he “authorized a precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield once and for all.”
A senior official for the administration reported that the strike yielded zero civilian casualties.
According to other officials, Zawahiri “continued to pose an active threat to U.S. persons, interests, and national security”.
On the 30th of last month, two hellfire missiles were fired by drones into a safehouse Zawahiri occupied. A senior official said that Zawahiri was spotted on “multiple occasions for sustained periods of time on the balcony, where he was ultimately struck.”
The official said, “We are confident through our intelligence sources and methods, including multiple streams of intelligence, that we killed Zawahiri and no other individual.” Zawahiri’s family was present in the safe house, but were “in other parts of the safe house at the time of the strike and were purposefully not targeted and were unharmed.”
The official continued, “Zawahiri’s death deals a significant blow to al Qaeda and will degrade the group’s ability to operate, including against the U.S. homeland. This action keeps faith with the president’s solemn pledge to protect Americans from terrorist threats, including threats that might emerge from Afghanistan.”
Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesperson for the Taliban tweeted from the official Taliban Twitter account that an “air strike was carried out on a residential house in Sherpur area of Kabul city” but did not specify the nature of the strike.
“The security and intelligence agencies of the Islamic Emirate investigated the incident and found that the attack was carried out by American drones. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strongly condemns this attack on any pretext and calls it a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement. Such actions are a repetition of the failed experiences of the past 20 years and are against the interests of the United States of America, Afghanistan and the region. Repeating such actions will damage the available opportunities.”
Former Vice President Dick Cheney said, “It’s good that we got him, I’ve been out of the business for many years, so I am waiting to learn all the facts.”