“Justice is done, this terrorist leader is no more”. Thus, on Sunday, US President Joe Biden announced on TV to millions of Americans that 11 years after Osama bin Laden, the US eliminated his heir to al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, 71, considered the number one in international terrorism. Washington had put a 25 million dollar bounty on al-Zawahiri: it is not known if he will be up to anyone or if other countries were involved in the operation. In the blitz conducted by the CIA there would have been no casualties among civilians, and not even among the family members of the head of the international terrorist organization.
The preparation and the attack
Earlier this year, US intelligence received news of al-Zawahiri’s wife, daughter and grandchildren arriving in Kabul. In April, the CIA had confirmed that the head of al-Qaeda was hiding in a building in the residential district of Shirpur, under the control of the Afghan Ministry of Defense. He had never left there. But it took a few more weeks to be sure it was him. The countdown began on July 1 with a summit attended by CIA Director William Burns, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Counterterrorism Director Christine Abizaid and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. There have been many meetings at the White House in recent weeks, all centered on Biden’s plea to prevent the deaths of innocent people, including al-Zawahiri’s family. To make sure everything was planned, “minimizing” the side effects, a model of the building was built. On July 25, the last meeting, then the final order. The drone attack took place when in Washington it was Saturday evening, 21.48, and in Kabul – separated by an eight and a half hour time zone – on Sunday morning. That was the moment when al-Zawahiri, as he had done on other occasions, went to the terrace, on the third floor of a building in the residential area of the Afghan capital. At that point an explosion broke the silence and the al-Qaeda leader was killed. A few minutes later a team of 007 took the DNA and the confirmation arrived: the man killed was al-Zawahiri. Thus ended a hunt that lasted eleven years, since the Egyptian-born terrorist announced to the world that he had taken up the legacy of bin Laden, the mastermind of the attack on the United States of 11 September 2001.
Biden: “If you are a threat, the US will track you down”
“When I put an end to the American military mission in Afghanistan – Biden said in a brief speech from the White House broadcast by the major American television networks – I promised that we would continue to carry out counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan.” “My hope – he added – is that now the relatives of the victims of 9/11 can turn the page. “” It doesn’t matter – he concluded – how long it takes, or where you hide. If you are a threat, the US will track you down. “
“Violation of the Doha agreements”
The fact that al-Zawahiri was in Kabul is a “clear violation” of the agreement the Taliban signed with Washington in 2020 in which they promised not to allow Afghanistan to become a “safe haven” for jihad again, he said. a source in the Biden administration said. “We expect them to abide by the terms of the Doha agreement. And Zawahiri’s presence in central Kabul was a clear violation of that.” A spokesman for the Afghan government, confirming the attack, said instead that it was the US that violated the agreement.