Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, who played central role in 9/11 attacks and later created the terror group’s regional affiliate in the Indian subcontinent, has been killed in a US “precision strike” in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, in the biggest blow to the global terror network since killing of its founder Osama bin Laden in 2011 in Pakistan.
Zawahiri, who assumed the leadership of al-Qaeda after the death of bin Laden, was killed in a drone strike carried out by CIA on Saturday evening at a house in Kabul where he was sheltering to reunite with his family, US President Joe Biden said on Monday, declaring that “justice has been delivered and this terrorist is no more”.
The 71-year-old Egyptian surgeon, who had a US$ 25 million bounty on his head, was bin Laden’s second-in-command during 9/11 attacks and took over as the head of al-Qaeda after his death. He remained a visible international symbol of the terror group, 11 years after the US killed bin Laden during a raid in Pakistan’s Abbottabad in May 2011.
“I authorised a precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield, once and for all,” Biden said on Monday in a speech from the White House.