The Zawahiri Strike Revealed How the Taliban Has Given Al-Qaeda ‘VIP Treatment’ in Afghanistan

The killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri on a balcony in Afghanistan’s capital on Sunday morning demonstrated the deadly power and reach of U.S. intelligence services, even a full year after President Biden withdrew all U.S. forces from the country. But one aspect of the assassination is alarming counterterrorism experts: its precise location.

The fact that Al Qaeda’s top leader was living with his family in an expensive neighborhood in downtown Kabul breaks into public view the degree to which the Taliban has given Al Qaeda’s leadership license to operate inside the country and, in some cases, even placing them in high-level positions in the government.
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“We believe that there were senior members of the Haqqani Network who are affiliated with the Taliban who did know that al-Zawahiri was in Kabul,” Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor, said on NBC News on Tuesday. “There may have been other members of the Taliban that did not know.”

Zawahiri played a key role in planning the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, as well as the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and took over Al Qaeda after Osama bin Laden’s death in 2011. Biden administration officials have said Zawahiri remained in charge of the terrorist group up until his death on Sunday.

Read More: Joe Biden Wants to Honor 9/11—By Moving On From National Security Priorities That Defined the Past 20 Years

Michael Allen, a former staff director of the House Intelligence Committee from 2011 to 2013 and a former senior official on President George W. Bush’s national security council, says the circumstances of the Zahawiri strike bring to mind the hard line that the Bush administration took on countries allowing terrorists within their borders in the wake of the 9/11 attack. “The Bush doctrine was, if you harbor a terrorist, …read more

Source:: Time – World


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