US drone strike kills Al Qaeda leader Zawahiri
A US drone strike killed Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri at a safe house in Kabul, President Joe Biden said on Monday.
In a televised address, Biden said he gave the green light for the high-precision strike that successfully targeted Zawahiri and no civilians were killed in the Afghan capital over the weekend.
A Taliban spokesperson had previously condemned a strike that took place in Kabul on Sunday, calling it a violation of "international principles."
"Now justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more," Biden said. "No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out."
Zawahiri was killed when he came out on the balcony of his safe house in Kabul on Sunday morning and was hit by "hellfire" missiles from a U.S. drone, Reuters said, citing anonymous US officials.
Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon, was the main strategist of al Qaeda operations, including the September 11 attacks. He became the leader of al Qaeda after Bin Laden was killed with another US covert operation in Pakistan in 2011.
Until the announcement of the strike, Zawahiri had been rumoured to be in Pakistan's tribal area or inside Afghanistan.
A senior U.S. official said they found out this year that Zawahiri's wife, daughter and her children had relocated to a safe house in Kabul, then identified that Zawahiri was there as well.
Whether Zawahiri received sanctuary from the Taliban is unknown, but the drone attack shows that the US can still address threats from Afghanistan without a military presence in the country.