President Joe Biden confirmed that the US killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike in Afghanistan.
This week, the CIA killed him in an anti-terrorist process in the Afghan capital of Kabul. Biden said Zawahiri had “plotted a line of killing and violence against American citizens.”
“Now justice has been done, and this terrorist chief is no more,” he claimed.
Zawahiri took responsibility for al-Qaeda after the assassination of Osama bin Laden in 2011. He and bin Laden schemed the 9/11 attacks and were of the US’s “Most Wanted Terrorists”.
Officers said Zawahiri was on the terrace of a safe house when the drone shot two missiles at him.
Other members of the terrorist groups were present but were not hurt, and only Zawahiri was killed, they added.
After months of planning, Biden said he gave the final permission for an “accuracy strike” on the 71-year-old al Qaeda leader.
Biden added that his killing would bring closure to the homes of the nearly 3,000 victims of the 2001 attacks.
“No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a danger to our people, the United States will find you and bring you out,” Biden said, adding that “we will never hesitate in defence of our country and her people”.
Biden said Zawahiri also masterminded other actions of violence, including the October 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole in Aden that killed almost 17 American mariners and the 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 223 innocent people.
He finally claimed that Afghanistan would never again become a haven for terrorists.
An Al-Qaeda spokesperson defined the US assassination as a clear violation of global principles.
“Such moves are a repetition of the unsuccessful incidents of the past 20 years and are against the stakes of the United States of America, Afghanistan and the province,” the spokesman added.
However, US officials maintained their statement that the operation had legal grounds under which it was operated.
Ayman al-Zawahiri was al-Qaeda’s idealistic brain.
An Egyptian doctor was jailed in the 1980s for his involvement in militant Islam. After his release from prison, he left the country and joined fierce international jihadist activities.
He finally settled in Afghanistan and joined powers with the wealthy Osama bin Laden of Saudi Arabia.
Together they announced war on the US and directed the September 11, 2001 attacks, which killed 3000 people.
It took ten years for Bin Laden to be hunted down and killed by the United States. After that, Zawahiri presumed leadership of al-Qaeda but became a distant and frontier figure, making only a few reports.
The US will celebrate his death as a win, especially after the messy withdrawal from Afghanistan last year.
Still, Zawahiri had little impact as a new group, and campaigns such as the Islamic State group gained more control. A new al Qaeda leader will undoubtedly arise, but he will likely have even less power than his ancestor.
Zawahiri’s slaying came almost a year after U.S troops were removed from Afghanistan on Mr Biden’s orders, ending a 20-year military service there.
As part of a 2020 truce deal with the U.S.U.S., the Taliban vowed not to allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist grouping to work in areas beneath their control.
But the Taliban and al-Qaeda are long-time partners, and U.S.U.S. officials said the Taliban knew of Zawahiri’s existence in Kabul.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Taliban had “grossly broken” the peace deal by hosting and housing Zawahiri in Kabul.
Zawahiri, an eye surgeon who helped found the Egyptian Islamic Jihad militant group, took leadership of al-Qaeda after US forces assassinated bin Laden in 2011.
Before that, Zawahiri was usually directed to Bin Laden’s right-hand man and al-Qaeda’s top idealist.
Some experts thought he was the “mastermind” behind the September 11, 2001 attacks.