US Kills al-Qaeda Head Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul; Taliban Slams Joe Biden
Biden said that he hoped Zawahiri's death would bring "closure" to families of those killed on 11 September 2001.
The airstrike in Kabul was the first US attack in Afghanistan since American forces withdrew last year.
"Justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more," Biden said in a televised address.
Biden stated that he hoped that the al-Qaeda chief's death would bring "closure" to families of the thousands of people killed during the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.
Meanwhile, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that the attack took place on Sunday, and condemned it as a violation of "international principles" and the 2020 agreement on US troop withdrawal.
"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strongly condemns this attack on any cause and calls it a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement," the statement asserted.
Shortly after the announcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) changed al-Zawahiri's status to "deceased" on its website.
'Carefully Planned': The US Precision Strike That Killed al-Qaeda Chief
Ayman al-Zawahari was killed in a drone strike carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) last week, at a house in Kabul where he was sheltering.
In a televised address from the White House, President Joe Biden evinced, "I authorised a precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield, once and for all."
As per officials, Zawahiri was on the balcony of a safe house when the drone fired two missiles at him.
However, there was no explosion and no one else was harmed, US officials said, suggesting that the intelligence agencies used Hellfire R9X, a warhead-less missile.
Who Was al-Zawahiri?
Al-Zawahiri had overseen the 9/11 attacks in 2001 – which had killed 2,977 people – along with Osama bin-Laden, who was killed by the US in 2011 in Pakistan.
Egyptian by birth, Al-Zawahiri had trained to be a medical doctor. The US had announced a reward of $25 million for information leading to his capture.
The US also held him responsible for the bombing of its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and on its naval ship USS Cole in 2000.
'Justice Has Been Delivered': Joe Biden
Continuing his address on Monday, Biden said, "Our intelligence community located Zawahiri earlier this year... He had moved to downtown Kabul to reunite with members of his immediate family. After carefully considering clear and convincing evidence of his location, I authorised a precision strike.."
Biden added, "This mission was carefully planned, rigorously minimising the risk of harm to other civilians. And one week ago, after being advised the conditions were optimal, I gave the final approval to go get him and the mission was a success."
In a tweet, the US commander-in-chief said, "On Saturday, at my direction, the United States successfully conducted an airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed the emir of al-Qa’ida: Ayman al-Zawahiri. Justice has been delivered."
In another tweet, he added, "The United States continues to demonstrate our resolve and our capacity to defend the American people against those who seek to do us harm. Tonight we made clear: No matter how long it takes. No matter where you try to hide. We will find you."
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