WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden announced Monday evening that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had been killed in a drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan over the weekend.
“I authorised a precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield. There were no civilian casualties,” Xinhua news agency reported Biden said in live remarks from the Blue Room Balcony at the White House.
Al-Zawahiri, 71, became head of al-Qaeda in 2011 after its longtime leader Osama bin Laden was shot and killed by US forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan during a raid.
Biden’s announcement came nearly a year after the US military completed a withdrawal from Afghanistan that it invaded in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks carried out in 2001 by al-Qaeda operatives against targets on American soil, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
“He was deeply involved in the planning of 9/11.
“He coordinated al-Qaeda’s branches and all around the world, including setting priorities for providing operational guidance that called for and inspired attacks against US targets,” Biden said of al-Zawahiri.
According to Xinhua’s report, a senior administration official briefed reporters that the drone strike was conducted in Kabul on Sunday morning with hellfire missiles that targeted and killed al-Zawahiri, who was standing on the balcony of a safe house.
Preparation for the operation was said to have taken months. Biden gave the final authorisation on July 25 while quarantined at the White House due to a COVID-19 infection, according to the official.
Over 929,000 people have died in the post-9/11 wars due to direct war violence, and several times as many due to the reverberating effects of war, it reported figures from the
The US federal price tag for the post-9/11 wars is over US$8 trillion the project found. – BERNAMA