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Al-Qaida Leader Ayman al-Zawahri Reportedly Killed in U.S. Drone Strike in Afghanistan

(WASHINGTON) A CIA drone strike has killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri in Afghanistan, in accordance with five people acquainted with the problem.

Current and former officials began hearing Sunday afternoon that al-Zawahri have been killed in a drone strike, however the administration delayed releasing the info until his death could possibly be confirmed, in accordance with one individual, who spoke on the health of anonymity to go over the problem.

White House officials declined to verify al-Zawahri was killed but noted in a statement that america conducted an effective counterterrorism operation against a substantial al-Qaida target, adding that there have been no civilian casualties.

President Joe Biden is likely to discuss further information on the operation in a 7: 30 p.m. EDT address to the country.

An American ground team was within Afghanistan to aid the strike and contains since pulled out, a senior intelligence official said.

Al-Zawahris loss eliminates the figure who a lot more than anyone shaped al-Qaida, first as Osama bin Ladens deputy since 1998, then as his successor. Together, he and bin Laden turned the jihadi movements guns to focus on america, undertaking the deadliest attack ever on American soil the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide hijackings.

The attacks on the planet Trade Center and Pentagon made bin Laden Americas Enemy No. 1. But he likely could do not have carried it out without his deputy. Bin Laden provided al-Qaida with charisma and money, but al-Zawahri brought tactics and organizational skills had a need to forge militants right into a network of cells in countries all over the world.

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

Biden planned to speak from the balcony off the White House Blue Room as he remains in isolation in the residence while he continues to check positive for COVID-19.

Speaking on Aug. 31, 2021, following the last U.S. troops left Afghanistan, Biden said the U.S. wouldn’t normally let through to its fight terrorism for the reason that country or elsewhere.

We shall maintain the fight terrorism in Afghanistan along with other countries, he said. We just dont have to fight a ground war to accomplish it. Previewing the strike that could occur 11 months later, Biden said at that time, We’ve whats called over-the-horizon capabilities, this means we are able to strike terrorists and targets without American boots on the floor or hardly any, if needed.

There were rumors of al-Zawahris death on / off for quite some time. But a video surfaced in April of the al-Qaida leader praising a Indian Muslim woman who had defied a ban on wearing a hijab, or headscarf. That footage was the initial proof in months he was still alive.

A statement from Afghanistans Taliban government confirmed the airstrike, but didn’t mention al-Zawahri or any casualties.

It said it strongly condemns this attack and calls it an obvious violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement, the 2020 U.S. pact with the Taliban that resulted in the withdrawal of American forces.

Such actions certainly are a repetition of the failed experiences of days gone by 20 years and so are contrary to the interests of america of America, Afghanistan, and the spot, the statement said.

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

E mail us at letters@time.com.

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