‘Justice Has Been Delivered’: Biden Hails Ayman al-Zawahiri Killing as Sign of America’s Resolve

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the elusive leader of al-Qaeda who played a key role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and took over the transnational terrorist franchise following Osama bin Laden’s death in 2011, was killed in a U.S. drone strike Sunday morning in Kabul.

The operation, which was years in the making and launched by the CIA, marked the first U.S. attack in Afghanistan since American forces left a year ago and represents a key victory for the Biden Administration, which pledged to stay on top of terrorist threats inside the war-torn country after the chaotic withdrawal.

Zawahiri’s death brings to a close one of the CIA’s longest-standing manhunts since Sept. 11, and, until now, one of the agency’s most confounding targets. Over the years, Zawahiri became as synonymous with al-Qaeda as Bin Laden. According to administration officials, Zawahiri was still in charge of al-Qaeda, issuing commands up until his death.
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The administration began moving forward with its plan to strike Zawahiri, 71, in April, after intelligence indicated he had moved into a safehouse with his wife, daughter and grandchildren. Four months later, two missiles slammed into Zawahiri’s safehouse as he stood outside on the balcony taking in the morning air, according to a senior administration official.

The assassination marks an end of an era for the shadowy group, which has proven resilient despite more than two decades of war. U.S. intelligence estimates only a few hundred core al-Qaeda members remain, most of them living in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, with its leadership ranks decimated. Its worldwide reach, however, persists with thousands of members in affiliate organizations, such as al-Shabab in Somalia, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Algeria, and others.

“Now, justice has been delivered,” said President Biden Monday night, speaking on the south balcony of …read more

Source:: Time – World


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