The US kills al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a drone strike

The US kills al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a drone strike
FILE PHOTO: Osama bin Laden sits with his adviser Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian linked to the al Qaeda network, during an interview with Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir (not pictured) in an image supplied by Dawn newspaper November 10, 2001. Hamid Mir/Editor/Ausaf Newspaper for Daily Dawn/Handout via REUTERS

It’s been 21 years since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, arranged by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed under President Obama’s administration in 2011. A close accomplice of bin Laden’s, Ayman al-Zawahri, helped plan the 9/11 terror attacks; he’s has been hunted by the US ever since. Al-Zawahri rebuilt al-Qaida in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and was the supreme leader of several branches across the Middle East and Asia. He was responsible for other terror attacks in cities like Jakarta, Istanbul, London and Madrid.

On Monday, US President Biden announced that the US military had successfully killed al-Zawahri in Kabul, Afghanistan, over the weekend. Al-Zawahri was on the balcony of his safe house when a drone missile hit him. This is the first drone attack since US diplomats and troops left the country last year. Afghanistan’s Taliban government still hasn’t confirmed his death, but it did say that a strike took place, calling it a violation of “international principles." According to the US, no civilians were injured or killed.

Key comments:

“Now justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more … You know, we make it clear again tonight that no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out," President Biden said in a televised statement.

“We didn’t have any boots on the ground, but over a constant series of meticulous gathering of intelligence and information over the course of many months, we were able to execute this strike with great efficiency," White House spokesman John Kirby said.

“It is our own pain, let us deal with it," a Taliban guard told The Guardian reporters when they tried to get to the site of the attack, blocking their entry and later demanding access to their phones.