Al Qaeda leader Zawahiri killed
US: Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a CIA drone strike in Afghanistan over the weekend, U.S. officials said on Monday, the biggest blow to the militant group since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.
Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who had a US$25 million bounty on his head, helped coordinate the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. One of the U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the CIA carried out a drone strike in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday.
“Over the weekend, the United States conducted a counterterrorism operation against a significant al Qaeda target in Afghanistan,” a senior administration official said in a statement to reporters. “The operation was successful and there were no civilian casualties,” the official added.
The drone attack is the first known U.S. strike inside Afghanistan since U.S. troops and diplomats left the country in August 2021. The move may bolster the credibility of Washington’s assurances that the United States can still address threats from Afghanistan without a military presence in the country.
In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that a strike took place and strongly condemned it, calling it a violation of “international principles.”
Zawahiri’s whereabouts – variously rumoured to be in Pakistan’s tribal area or inside Afghanistan – had been unknown until the strike. – JAPAN TODAY