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President Biden speaks about counterterrorism plot that killed al-Qaida leader

A CIA drone strike killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in Afghanistan, according to five people familiar with the matter. Current and former officials began hearing Sunday afternoon that al-Zawahri had been killed in a drone strike, but the government delayed releasing the information until his death was confirmed, according to one person, who spoke on condition of anonymity. to discuss the matter. White House officials declined to confirm that al-Zawahri had been killed, but noted in a statement that the United States conducted a “successful” counterterrorism operation against a major al-Qaeda target, adding that there were “no civilian casualties.” President Joe Biden is expected to discuss further details of the operation in a speech at 7:30 p.m. EDT. to the nation. A US ground team was present in Afghanistan to support the strike and has since withdrawn, a senior intelligence official said. The loss of al-Zawahri eliminates the person who more than anyone shaped al-Qaeda. First as Osama bin Laden’s deputy from 1998 and then as his successor. Together, he and bin Laden turned the weapons of the jihadist movement to target the United States, carrying out the deadliest attack ever on American soil — the suicide bombers of September 11, 2001. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon they made bin Laden America’s Enemy No. 1. But he probably never could have pulled it off without his second-in-command. Bin Laden provided al-Qaeda with charisma and money, but al-Zawahri brought the tactical and organizational skills needed to forge the militants into a network of cores in countries around the world. Their bond was forged in the late 1980s, when al-Zawahri reportedly confronted Saudi millionaire bin Laden in the caves of Afghanistan as Soviet bombing shook the mountains around them. Biden planned to speak from the White House Blue Room balcony as he remains in residential isolation while continuing to test positive for COVID-19. Speaking on August 31, 2021, after the last US troops left Afghanistan, Biden said the US would not abandon its fight against terrorism in that country or elsewhere. “We will maintain the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries.” he said. “We just don’t have to go to ground war to do it.” Previewing the strike that would take place 11 months later, Biden said at the time: “We have what’s called over-the-horizon capabilities, which means we can strike terrorists and targets without American boots on the ground — or very few if necessary.” There had been rumors of al-Zawahri’s death for several years. But a video emerged in April of the al-Qaeda leader praising an Indian Muslim woman who had defied a ban on wearing the hijab, or headscarf. This video was the first evidence in months that he was still alive. A statement from the Afghan Taliban government confirmed the airstrike but did not name al-Zawahri or other casualties. He said he “strongly condemns this attack and calls it a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement,” the 2020 US pact with the Taliban that led to the withdrawal of US forces. , Afghanistan and the region,” the statement said.—-Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor, James LaPorta, Zeke Miller and Aamer Madhani in Washington and Rahim Faiez in Islamabad contributed to the report.

A CIA drone strike killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in Afghanistan, according to five people familiar with the matter.

Current and former officials began hearing on Sunday afternoon that al-Zawahri had been killed in a drone strike, but the administration delayed releasing the information until his death was confirmed, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity. anonymity to discuss the matter. .

White House officials declined to confirm that al-Zawahri was killed, but noted in a statement that the United States conducted a “successful” counterterrorism operation against a major al-Qaeda target, adding that there were “no civilian casualties.”

President Joe Biden is expected to discuss further details of the operation in a speech at 7:30 p.m. EDT. to the nation.

A US ground team was present in Afghanistan to support the strike and has since withdrawn, a senior intelligence official said.

Al-Zawahri’s loss eliminates the figure who more than anyone shaped al-Qaeda, first as Osama bin Laden’s deputy from 1998 and then as his successor. Together, he and bin Laden turned the weapons of the jihadist movement to target the United States, carrying out the deadliest attack ever on American soil – the suicide bombers of September 11, 2001.

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon made bin Laden America’s enemy No. 1. But he probably never could have done it without his deputy. Bin Laden provided al-Qaeda with charisma and money, but al-Zawahri brought the tactical and organizational skills needed to forge the militants into a network of cores in countries around the world.

Their bond was forged in the late 1980s when al-Zawahri reportedly groomed Saudi millionaire bin Laden in the caves of Afghanistan as Soviet bombing shook the mountains around them.

Biden planned to speak from the White House Blue Room balcony as he remains in residential isolation while continuing to test positive for COVID-19.

Speaking on August 31, 2021, after the last US troops left Afghanistan, Biden said the US would not abandon its fight against terrorism in that country or elsewhere.

“We will maintain the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries,” he said. “We just don’t have to go to ground war to do it.” Previewing the strike that would take place 11 months later, Biden said at the time: “We have what’s called over-the-horizon capabilities, which means we can strike terrorists and targets without American boots on the ground — or very few if necessary.”

There had been rumors of al-Zawahri’s death for several years. But a video emerged in April of the al-Qaeda leader praising an Indian Muslim woman who had defied a ban on wearing the hijab, or headscarf. This video was the first evidence in months that he was still alive.

A statement from the Afghan Taliban government confirmed the airstrike but did not name al-Zawahri or other casualties.

He said he “strongly condemns this attack and calls it a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement,” the 2020 US-Taliban agreement that led to the withdrawal of US forces.

“Such actions are a repetition of the failed experiences of the past 20 years and are against the interests of the United States of America, Afghanistan and the region,” the statement said.

—-

Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor, James LaPorta, Zeke Miller and Aamer Madhani in Washington and Rahim Faiez in Islamabad contributed to the report.

President Biden speaks about counterterrorism plot that killed al-Qaida leader Source link President Biden speaks about counterterrorism plot that killed al-Qaida leader

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