Biden: Killing of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is long-sought 'justice

WASHINGTON: Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a US drone strike in Kabul on Monday, according to President Joe Biden, who praised the operation as bringing "justice" and expressed hope that it would provide "one more measure of closure" for the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks on the United States.

In an evening speech from the White House, Obama said that US intelligence personnel had tracked al-Zawahiri to a residence in the heart of Kabul where he was hiding out with his family. The procedure was carried out on Sunday after the president gave his approval last week.

Al-Zawahiri and the more well-known Osama bin Laden planned the 9/11 attacks, which exposed many common Americans to al-Qaida for the first time. On May 2, 2011, US Navy Seals executed an operation in Pakistan that resulted in the death of Bin Laden following a nearly ten-year manhunt.

Because he is no longer with us, we will make sure that nothing else occurs. "He will never again, never again, allow Afghanistan to become a terrorist haven," declared Biden.

He said, "This terrorist leader is no longer."

Just 11 months after American forces left the country at the end of a two-decade conflict, the operation represents a huge counterterrorism victory for the Biden administration.

Five people with knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the CIA was responsible for the strike. The CIA's role in the strike was not specifically mentioned by Biden or the White House.

But in his speech, Biden praised the US intelligence community, saying that the operation was a "success" "due to their amazing persistence and competence," he said.

The person who most influenced al-Qaida, first as bin Laden's deputy since 1998, then as his successor, is gone with the death of al-Zawahiri. Together with bin Laden, they launched the worst assault on American soil — the 9/11 suicide hijackings — by turning the jihadi movement's weapons against the country.

A top adviser to senior Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani owned the home where Al-Zawahiri was slain, according to a senior intelligence official. The official further stated that al-demise Zawahiri's was confirmed by a CIA ground team and aircraft reconnaissance carried out following the drone operation.

Under the condition of anonymity, a senior administration official briefed reporters on the operation and stated that "zero" US forces were present in Kabul.

The US attacked and fragmented al-Qaida during the 20-year war in Afghanistan, forcing leaders into hiding. However, the extreme organization had the chance to regroup when the United States left Afghanistan in September. Al-Qaida is attempting to reorganize in Afghanistan, where it faces minimal risks from the country's current Taliban administration, according to US military officials, including Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Military officials have issued warnings that the organization is still planning an attack on the US.

Bin Laden became America's No. 1 Enemy after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks of 2001. But without his deputy, he most likely could not have completed the task. Al-Zawahiri contributed the strategies and organizational abilities required to turn fighters into a global network of cells, while Bin Laden gave al-Qaida the charisma and resources.

US intelligence authorities have known for years that a network is helping al-Zawahiri elude their pursuit, but they have only recently been able to pinpoint his likely position.

According to the senior administration source who briefed reporters, US officials learned that the terror leader's wife, daughter, and children had moved to a safe house in Kabul earlier this year.

Eventually, authorities discovered al-Zawahiri was also present at the Kabul safe house.

Biden's homeland security adviser Elizabeth D. Sherwood-Randall and Jon Finer, the deputy national security adviser for the White House, received a briefing on this evolving intelligence at the beginning of April. Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, received the intelligence quickly.

As US intelligence officers developed "a pattern of life through many independent sources of information to inform the operation," the individual said, Sullivan provided Biden with the information.

The official stated that the Taliban government was not informed of the operation but senior Taliban members were aware of the al-presence of Zawahiri in Kabul.

Only a limited number of representatives from significant agencies within the Biden administration, along with Vice President Kamala Harris, were involved in the decision-making process.

The president carefully examined a model of the house Zawahiri was hiding out in during his briefing of Biden on the planned operation on July 1 in the Situation Room. On Thursday, he gave the procedure his final blessing. When the attack took place, Al-Zawahiri was standing on the balcony of his hiding place.

No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you pose a threat to our citizens, the United States will locate you and eliminate you, Biden declared.

Al-Zawahiri wasn't as well-known as bin Laden, but he was crucial to the terrorist organization's activities.

The relationship between the two terrorist commanders was established in the late 1980s when al-Zawahri allegedly treated Saudi millionaire bin Laden in an Afghan cave as Soviet bombing shook the surrounding mountains.

With a $25 million reward on his head for any information that may be used to kill or capture him, Zawahiri was one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists.

Al-Zawahiri and bin Laden planned the 9/11 assaults, which exposed many average Americans to al-Qaida for the first time.

Pictures from the period frequently showed the mild-mannered Egyptian doctor sitting next to bin Laden. He wore glasses. In the 1990s, al-Zawahri combined his organization of militant Egyptians with bin Laden's al-Qaida.

Steven A. Cook wrote for the Council on Foreign Relations last year, "The strong contingent of Egyptians applied organizational know-how, financial expertise, and military experience to wage a violent jihad against leaders whom the fighters considered to be un-Islamic and their patrons, especially the United States."

Al-Zawahri made sure al-Qaida would survive when the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 destroyed its sanctuary and dispersed, killed, and arrested its members. He replaced important lieutenants with supporters and reorganized the organization's leadership in the Afghan-Pakistan border region.

He also transformed the group from a central hub for planning terrorist activities into the leader of a network of franchises. In the region, encompassing Iraq, Saudi Arabia, North Africa, Somalia, Yemen, and Asia, he oversaw the formation of a network of independent subsidiaries. Al-Qaida was directly involved in all of those assaults during the following ten years, as well as those in Europe, Pakistan, and Turkey, including the Madrid train bombs in 2004 and the London transit bombings in 2005.

More recently, an attempted bombing of an American passenger jet in 2009 and an attempted parcel bombing the following year showed that the al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen was capable of planning strikes against US soil.

But even before bin Laden's passing, al-Zawahri was having trouble keeping al-Qaida relevant in the Middle East that was changing.

He made vain attempts to influence the wave of upheavals that swept the Arab world beginning in 2011, asking Islamic hard-liners to assume control of the countries where presidents had been overthrown. But despite the fact that Islamists have become more well-known in many locations, they reject al-ideology Qaida's an agenda.

Al-Zawahiri nevertheless made an effort to assume leadership of the Arab Spring. In a video tribute to bin Laden, he declared that America was "facing an Islamic nation that is in revolt, having risen from its lethargy to a renaissance of jihad." He was dressed in a white robe and turban, and an assault rifle was resting against a wall behind him.

Compared to his predecessor, Al-Zawahiri was also a more polarising figure. Many militants used admiring, almost spiritual language to characterize the soft-spoken bin, Laden.

Al-Zawahiri, on the other hand, was renowned for being pedantic and prickly. He engaged in ideological scuffles with opponents within the jihadi camp, showing his scolding finger in his videos. Even important members of al-senior Qaida's leadership were turned off by him, describing him as overbearing, secretive, and polarising.

Al-Zawahiri was always viewed as an arrogant interloper by certain militants whose relationship with bin Laden preceded al-Zawahiri's.
Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, one of the network's leading officials in East Africa until his passing in 2011, boasted in a 2009 online book, "I have never followed orders from al-Zawahiri." No one other than the historical leadership gives us orders.

For a number of years, there have been intermittent reports of al-passing. Zawahiri However, a video of the al-Qaida chief congratulating an Indian Muslim woman for disobeying a restriction on donning a hijab, or headscarf, surfaced in April. The video was the first indication of his continued existence in months.

Al-Zawahiri and any other victims were not mentioned in a statement from the Taliban government in Afghanistan, which acknowledged the airstrike.

The 2020 US deal with the Taliban that resulted in the withdrawal of American soldiers was described as a "clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement" by the statement.

According to the statement, such measures go against the interests of the United States of America, Afghanistan, and the region and are a replay of the failed strategies of the previous 20 years.

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