CIA drone strike kills Bin Laden's right hand man – Biden

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A “counterterrorism operation” in Afghanistan took out Al Qaeda’s leader

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed over the weekend in a US drone strike in Afghanistan, US President Joe Biden announced on Monday evening, after multiple media outlets reported it citing anonymous sources within the government. Biden made a brief televised appearance while quarantining with Covid-19.

“Over the weekend, the United States conducted a counterterrorism operation against a significant Al Qaeda target in Afghanistan. The operation was successful and there were no civilian casualties,” a senior administration official told reporters in a background briefing. While Zawahiri’s name was not initially mentioned, AP reported it shortly thereafter, followed by Reuters and the Washington Post.

Addressing the nation at 7:30 pm, Biden said that the strike killed Zawahiri, calling him the right hand man of deceased former Al Qaeda boos Osama Bin Laden and a “vicious and determined killer.”

After “rigorous” planning to avoid civilian casualties, Biden said, he gave the final approval for the strike a week ago. “Now, justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more.”

“No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you’re a threat to our people, the US will find you and take you out,”
Biden added.

According to US officials, the CIA carried out a drone strike in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday. The Taliban government confirmed that the strike took place, with spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid condemning it as a violation of “international principles,” according to Reuters.

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FILE PHOTO: An evacuation control checkpoint at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 21, 2021

Afghan authorities had said that a missile had struck a home in the Sherpor district of Kabul, but that no one was inside.

“A rocket hit a house in the Sherpor area of Kabul this morning at around 6,” Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Nafi Takoor told . “The house was empty, thus the rocket did not result in any casualties.”

The Egyptian-born Zawahiri, 71, was considered to be Osama Bin Laden’s deputy and listed among the top 22 Most Wanted Terrorists by the FBI since October 2001, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He became the leader of Al-Qaeda following the US announcement that Bin Laden was killed in May 2011. The State Department had offered a bounty of up to $25 million for information on Zawahiri’s whereabouts.



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