The leader of Al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahri was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Kabul on Sunday, according to United States President Joe Biden. The operation, Biden said, delivered justice and hopefully “a measure of closure” to the families of the 9/11 victims.
In an evening speech from the White House, President Biden said that U.S. intelligence officials followed al-Zawahri to a house in Kabul, where the terror leader was hiding with his family. The plan was approved by the president last week, and it took place Sunday afternoon.
The 9/11 attacks, which were planned by al-Zawahri and also known Osama bin Laden, exposed many Americans to al-Qaida for the first time. Bin Laden was taken out in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, during a U.S. Navy SEAL operation after almost a decade-long manhunt.
Biden also said that Al-Zawahri would never again be allowed to establish a terrorist sanctuary in Afghanistan because he is gone, and we will make sure nothing else happens.”
The operation was a major counterterrorism success for the Biden White House, little more than a year after U.S. troops departed Iraq after a two-decade conflict.
According to 5 sources, the CIA carried out the strike. Neither Biden nor the White House commented on the CIA’s involvement in the attack.
Despite this, Biden praised the intelligence community in his speech, noting that “thanks to their unwavering dedication and expertise,” the operation was a success.
Al-Zawahri’s death removes the key figure who more than any other influenced al-Qaida, as bin Laden’s deputy, and then as his successor. In addition, they turned the jihad movement’s weapons against the United States and conducted the most destructive attack on U.S. soil — the Sept. 11 suicide hijackings — while working together.
According to a senior intelligence official, the home Al-Zawahri was residing in when he was killed was owned by a high-ranking associate of Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani. The official also stated that after the drone strike, a CIA ground team and aerial surveillance confirmed al-Zawahri’s death.