August 15, 2022

Brighton Journal

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US kills al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan

Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri (Europe Press)

This weekend, US drone strike in Afghanistan He killed the Egyptian Ayman al-ZawahiriTakes the lead Al Qaeda After death Osama Bin Laden In an American attack. President Joe Biden will announce the assassination on Monday. It marks a major counter-terrorism victory 11 months after US forces left the country after a two-decade war.

Current and former White House officials began asking for it Sunday afternoon Al Zawahiri was killed in a drone strikeBut according to one of the people, the administration delayed releasing the information until his death was confirmed.

Ayman al-Zawahiri (REUTERS) in a still image taken from a video released on September 12, 2011.
Ayman al-Zawahiri in a still image taken from a video released on September 12, 2011 (REUTERS)

White House officials declined to confirm al-Zawahiri’s death, but said in a statement The US said it conducted a “successful” counter-terrorism operation against a major al Qaeda target, and said there were “no civilian casualties”.

The house where al-Zawahiri was staying when he was killed It is owned by a senior aide of senior Taliban leader Sirajuddin HaqqaniHe told the company AP Intelligence chief. The official added that a CIA ground team and aerial reconnaissance had confirmed al-Zawahri’s death after the drone strike.

There were no further details on the operation or the identity of the target, but the president Joe Biden He said he was scheduled to speak on television later White HouseTo prepare, preparation “Perceptions of a Successful Counter-Terrorist Operation”.

Ayman-al-Zawahiri
Ayman-al-Zawahiri

The news comes a week before the deadline First anniversary US troops have finally withdrawn from Afghanistan, leaving the country under the control of a Taliban insurgency that has fought Western forces for the previous two decades.

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The loss of al-Zawahiri, more than anyone else, removes that person. He designed Al QaedaFirst as an alternative Osama Bin Laden Since 1998, then as his successor. together, He and bin Laden directed the weapons of the jihadist movement toward the United StatesCarrying out the deadliest attack ever on American soil: the suicide bombings September 11, 2001.

Zawahri, who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List, had a boon. $25 million For any information that would help kill or capture him.

Attacks on World Trade Center And pentagon They made Bin Laden America’s No. 1 enemy. But it is possible that he will not be able to execute it without his assistant. Bin Laden contributed to Al Qaeda Attractiveness Y MoneyBut Al Zawahiri offered Tricks And this Organizational skills It is necessary to build militias in a network of cells in countries around the world.

A still from Ayman-al-Zawahiri's video
A still from Ayman-al-Zawahiri’s video

Their bond dates back to the late 1990s. 1980Al-Zawahiri allegedly treated Saudi billionaire bin Laden in the caves of Afghanistan. Soviet bombing shook the mountains around them.

When the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 Al Qaeda’s safe house was taken down, its members dispersed, killed and capturedAl Zawahiri ensured the survival of Al Qaeda. He rebuilt his leadership in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region and appointed his allies as lieutenants in key positions.

He reorganized the system, He became the head of the chain of custody and became the central planner of terrorist attacks. He operated a network of autonomous branches across the region including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, North Africa, Somalia, Yemen and Asia. Over the next decade, al Qaeda inspired or directly participated in attacks in all of these areas. Europe, Pakistan Y TurkeyIncluding bombings of trains in Madrid 2004 and traffic bombings in London 2005.

A picture of the attack in Madrid in 2004
A picture of the attack in Madrid in 2004

More recently, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen demonstrated its ability to plan attacks on American soil. An attempted attack on a US airliner in 2009 and an attempted bombing the following year.

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But before bin Laden died Al Zawahri was struggling to keep al Qaeda relevant in a changing Middle East.

He tried, with little success, Consolidating the wave of uprisings that have swept the Arab world since 2011, urging Islamic hardliners to pick up the slack in countries whose leaders have fallen. But while Muslims gained prominence in many places, They have noted ideological differences with al Qaeda and reject its program and leadership.

Al-Zawahri, however, tried to position himself as the leader of the Arab Spring. America “faces an Islamic nation in revolt that has risen from slumber to the resurgence of jihad,” He praised bin Laden in one video, wearing a white robe and turban and leaning against a wall behind him with an assault rifle.

Al-Zawahri was one more person divisive than its predecessor. Many fighters described the soft-spoken bin Laden in kind, almost spiritual terms. On the contrary, al-Zawahri is notorious pouring out Y nervous. He has fought ideologically with critics in the jihadist camp and is devoted to finger-pointing in his videos. Even some key figures in al Qaeda’s central leadership were reticent, calling it overly restrictive, secretive and divisive.

In a speech on August 31, 2021, after the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, Biden said the United States will not give up its fight against terrorism in that country or any other country.

We will continue the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries“, said. “We just don’t need to do a ground war to do that.” Predicting the attack that would come 11 months later, Biden said: “We have over-the-horizon capabilities, which means we can attack terrorists and targets with very few US boots on the ground if necessary.”.

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Al Zawahiri’s death has been rumored for years. But in April, a video surfaced of the Al Qaeda leader praising an Indian Muslim woman He challenged the ban on wearing the hijab or headscarf. The recording was the first evidence in months that he was still alive.

A statement from the Afghan Taliban government confirmed the airstrike.But al-Zawahiri or any other victims were not identified.

said “Strongly condemns the attack, describing it as a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement”, the 2020 agreement between the US and the Taliban led to the withdrawal of US forces.

“These actions are a repetition of the failed experiences of the past 20 years and are against the interests of the US, Afghanistan and the region,” the statement said.

(With information from AFP and AP)

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