USA | Al-Qaeda leader killed in US strike in Afghanistan
Defence Redefined
Published on 02/08/2022 at 09:20

Ayman al-Zawahiri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden in the leadership of al-Qaeda, was killed late on Saturday night in a US airstrike in the Afghan capital, Kabul, according to the announcement of US President, Joe Biden, on Monday night. Al-Zawahiri’s death is a development that marks a new heavy blow for this terrorist organization.

“On Saturday, under my orders, the United States conducted an airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan, which killed the emir of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri,” the US President said during an emergency televised address from the White House. “Justice has been delivered,” added Joe Biden, “this terrorist leader is no more. We never give up,” he added.

Ayman al-Zawahiri was one of the most wanted terrorists in the world. Washington offered a $25 million reward for any information leading to his location.

He assumed leadership of this jihadist group in 2011, following the death of Osama bin Laden in a US Special Forces operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan. On the run for over ten years, he was considered one of the masterminds of the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington (more than 3,000 dead).

In 2011, having inherited a feeble organization, Ayman al-Zawahiri, 71, multiplied “franchises”, partnerships with organizations sharing the same ideology and alliances of opportunity, from the Arabian Peninsula to the Maghreb, from Somalia to Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq.

“Despite Zawahiri’s leadership (…), the organization still faces many challenges. The main question is who will take over the leadership of al-Qaeda after his death,” said Colin Clark, a researcher at the US research center Soufan Group.

Also read: USA | ISIS leader killed

Al-Qaeda had already suffered the loss of the second in its hierarchy, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who was killed in August 2020 on the streets of Tehran by Israeli agents as part of a secret operation on behalf of Washington, as the New York Times reported at the time.

The operation had “no civilian casualties,” Mr. Biden assured in his speech. The head of state also declared that Washington will never allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists ever again.

On February 3, Joe Biden announced the death of the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurasi, in an operation conducted in northern Syria.

In a televised address on the operation, the Democratic President had warned the leaders of jihadist organizations “we are after you and we will find you”.

This was the first known US airstrike in Kabul since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan. Mr. Biden’s announcement of the Egyptian surgeon’s death raises many questions for the Taliban, who had assured that they would not allow terrorist organizations to use Afghan territory as a haven after returning to power.

According to a Biden administration official, senior Taliban officials were aware of Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul. Being there was a “clear violation” of the accords the Taliban signed with the US in Doha in 2020, according to Washington.

Also read: Biden and Xi contact with Taiwan at the top of the agenda – Taiwan’s “message” to China




Pin It on Pinterest

Share This