President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike

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Offline Rick Plant

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President Joe Biden just took out Bin Laden's successor in Al Qaeda. It's a huge win, and it proves that we didn't need to keep occupying Afghanistan just to have the upper hand over terrorist groups in the region. Biden is fully vindicated.

Just 6 months ago President Biden took out the leader of ISIS. 

So glad we have a President that knows what he's doing with effective foreign policy and National Security.


U.S. kills al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in drone strike

President Joe Biden plans to give a speech about “a successful counterterrorism mission” at 7:30 p.m.


Osama bin Laden (left) sits with his adviser Ayman al-Zawahri, an Egyptian linked to the al Qaeda network. | Visual News/Getty Images

The United States killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a drone strike over the weekend, three people briefed on the operation told POLITICO.

The strike was conducted by the CIA, according to two of the people, with one saying it took place in Kabul. It was carried out by an Air Force drone, a U.S. official said separately. One of the people noted that it took “a few days” to confirm the killing because the U.S. doesn’t “have many assets on the ground.”

Al-Zawahri was an Egyptian who took over al Qaeda after the U.S. killed its longtime leader, Osama bin Laden, in 2011.

He never achieved the household name status of his predecessor, but al-Zawahri’s killing is nonetheless a major win for the United States in the ongoing struggle against Islamist terrorism, especially as the United Nations warns that the terrorist group is outpacing its peers — like the Islamic State — as a long-term global threat.

In a statement to reporters, a senior Biden administration official said “over the weekend, the United States conducted a counterterrorism operation against a significant Al Qaeda target in Afghanistan. The operation was successful and there were no civilian casualties.”

President Joe Biden is due to give a speech about the operation later Monday.

The announcement comes nearly a year after the United States finished withdrawing from Afghanistan, the country it invaded in 2001 following the Sept. 11 attacks masterminded by bin Laden.

The withdrawal devolved into a chaotic situation — and one of Biden’s worst stretches as president — as the U.S. was forced to carry out a major evacuation of more than 100,000 people trying to flee the country after an astonishingly quick takeover by Taliban militants. The United States has insisted that the Taliban not allow Afghan soil to be used by terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda.

The Al-Zawahiri killing gives the administration some good news to trumpet ahead of a grim anniversary.

Col. Joseph Buccino, a spokesperson for U.S. Central Command, declined to comment on the specifics of the strike. “We have no operational information at this time,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Pentagon said the military has not recently conducted any strikes in the area. The National Security Council declined to comment.

The Senate Intelligence committee has been briefed on the strike, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told POLITICO. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the operation “an important accomplishment,” adding “This strike should be a message to terrorists near and far: if you conspire to kill Americans, we will find and kill you.”

Al-Zawahri’s presence in Kabul is likely to worsen relations between Washington and the Taliban, but it also boosts the U.S. claim that it still has what it calls “over the horizon” capability when it comes to intelligence on terrorist activity in Afghanistan — despite no longer having combat troops there.

“The strike that killed Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is a major success of U.S. counter-terrorism efforts. A result of countless hours of intelligence collection over many years,” said Mick Mulroy, a former Pentagon official and retired CIA paramilitary operations officer.

Calling the killing “a landmark operation,” former top Obama administration official Ben Rhodes told POLITICO it “also demonstrates that Biden didn’t need to keep troops in Afghanistan to maintain a counterterrorism capability.”

A South Asian official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, expressed shock that al-Zawahri was “roaming in Kabul.”

For years, terrorism researchers and others had believed that al-Zawahri was hiding in Pakistan — where bin Laden was found. Some observers thought al-Zawahri was likely somewhere in the teeming Pakistani city of Karachi.

For the Biden administration, “this [strike] will deflect a bit from issues like how the Afghanistan withdrawal was a disaster and reduced U.S. capability on the counterterrorism front,” the South Asian official said.

However, a congressional aid noted that Al Qaeda is still a powerful force in Afghanistan, even without Al-Zawahri.

“While it’s great they got one of the hundreds of Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan, the Taliban regime the Biden administration enabled to come to power is hosting senior Al Qaeda leaders in downtown Kabul,” the person said. “The Biden administration is paying that same regime millions.”

Al-Zawahri, a physician, founded Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a militant group that merged with al Qaeda in the late 1990s. He had been indicted for his suspected role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.

It was not immediately clear who would succeed al-Zawahri as the leader of the terrorist group.

In December 2020, Brookings Institution terrorism expert Daniel Byman said one of the big questions of his leadership was how he would bequeath control to his successor. “For now, there is no obvious successor with Zawahri’s broad name recognition and respect within the jihadi world,” he wrote, adding: “Any successor will also benefit from the decline of ISIS, which is far weaker and less inspiring now that it has lost the caliphate.”

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesperson for the Taliban, tweeted Monday that “an air strike was carried out on a residential house in Sherpur area of Kabul city.”

Husain Haqqani, a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States who is now with the Hudson Institute, said that one “question now would be, whether the Taliban enabled Zawahiri’s elimination or the U.S. did it without assistance.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/08/01/sources-u-s-kills-al-qaeda-leader-ayman-al-zawahri-in-drone-strike-00049089

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Offline Rick Plant

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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2022, 02:42:54 AM »
Biden: Killing of al-Qaida leader is long-sought 'justice'



WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden announced Monday that al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Kabul, an operation he hailed as delivering “justice” while expressing hope that it brings “one more measure of closure” to families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

The president said in an evening address from the White House that U.S. intelligence officials tracked al-Zawahri to a home in downtown Kabul where he was hiding out with his family. The president approved the operation last week and it was carried out Sunday.

Al-Zawahri and the better known Osama bin Laden plotted the 9/11 attacks that brought many ordinary Americans their first knowledge of al-Qaida. Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, in operation carried out by U.S. Navy Seals after a nearly decade-long hunt.

“He will never again, never again, allow Afghanistan to become a terrorist safe haven because he is gone and we’re going to make sure that nothing else happens,” Biden said.

“This terrorist leader is no more,” he added.

The operation is a significant counterterrorism win for the Biden administration just 11 months after American troops left the country after a two-decade war.

The strike was carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to five people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Neither Biden nor the White House detailed the CIA's involvement in the strike.

Biden, however, paid tribute to the U.S. intelligence community in his remarks, noting that “thanks to their extraordinary persistence and skill” the operation was a “success."

Al-Zawahri’s loss eliminates the figure who more than anyone shaped al-Qaida, first as bin Laden’s deputy since 1998, then as his successor. Together, he and bin Laden turned the jihadi movement’s guns to target the United States, carrying out the deadliest attack ever on American soil — the Sept. 11 suicide hijackings.

The house Al-Zawahri was in when he was killed was owned by a top aide to senior Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, according to a senior intelligence official. The official also added that a CIA ground team and aerial reconnaissance conducted after the drone strike confirmed al-Zawahri’s death.

A senior administration official who briefed reporters on the operation on condition of anonymity said “zero” U.S. personnel were in Kabul.

Over the 20-year war in Afghanistan, the U.S. targeted and splintered al-Qaida, sending leaders into hiding. But America’s exit from Afghanistan last September gave the extremist group the opportunity to rebuild. U.S. military officials, including Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have said al-Qaida was trying to reconstitute in Afghanistan, where it faced limited threats from the now-ruling Taliban. Military leaders have warned that the group still aspired to attack the U.S.

After his killing, the White House sought to underscore that al-Zawahri had continued to be a dangerous figure. The senior administration official said he had continued to “provide strategic direction," including urging attacks on the U.S., while in hiding. He had also prioritized to members of the terror network that the United States remained al-Qaida's “primary enemy,” the official said.

The 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon made bin Laden America’s Enemy No. 1. But he likely could never have carried it out without his deputy. Bin Laden provided al-Qaida with charisma and money, but al-Zawahri brought tactics and organizational skills needed to forge militants into a network of cells in countries around the world.

U.S. intelligence officials have been aware for years of a network helping al-Zawahri dodge U.S. intelligence officials hunting for him, but didn’t have a bead on his possible location until recent months.

Earlier this year, U.S. officials learned that the terror leader’s wife, daughter and her children had relocated to a safe house in Kabul, according to the senior administration official who briefed reporters.

Officials eventually learned al-Zawahri was also at the Kabul safe house.

In early April, White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer and Biden’s homeland security adviser Elizabeth D. Sherwood-Randall were briefed on this developing intelligence. Soon the intelligence was carried up to national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Sullivan brought the information to Biden as U.S. intelligence officials built “a pattern of life through multiple independent sources of information to inform the operation,” the official said.

Senior Taliban figures were aware of al-Zawahri’s presence in Kabul, according to the official, who added the Taliban government was given no forewarning of the operation.

Inside the Biden administration, only a small group of officials at key agencies, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris, were brought into the process.

On July 1, Biden was briefed in the Situation Room about the planned operation, a briefing in which the president closely examined a model of the home Zawahri was hiding out in. He gave his final approval for the operation on Thursday. Al-Zawahri was standing on the balcony of his hideout when the two Hellfire missiles were launched from an unmanned drone, killing him.

Al-Zawahri's family was in another part of the house when the operation was carried out, and no one else was believed to have been killed in the operation, the official said.

“We make it clear again tonight: That 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,” Biden said.

Al-Zawahri was hardly a household name like bin Laden, but he played an enormous role in the terror group's operations.

The two terror leaders' 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.

Zawahri, on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list, had a $25 million bounty on his head for any information that could be used to kill or capture him.

Al-Zawhiri and bin Laden plotted the 9/11 attacks that brought many ordinary Americans their first knowledge of al-Qaida.

Photos from the time often showed the glasses-wearing, mild-looking Egyptian doctor sitting by the side of bin Laden. Al-Zawahiri had merged his group of Egyptian militants with bin Laden’s al-Qaida in the 1990s.

“The strong contingent of Egyptians applied organizational know-how, financial expertise, and military experience to wage a violent jihad against leaders whom the fighters considered to be un-Islamic and their patrons, especially the United States,” Steven A. Cook wrote for the Council on Foreign Relations last year.

When the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan demolished al-Qaida’s safe haven and scattered, killed and captured its members, al-Zawahri ensured al-Qaida’s survival. He rebuilt its leadership in the Afghan-Pakistan border region and installed allies as lieutenants in key positions.

He also reshaped the organization from a centralized planner of terror attacks into the head of a franchise chain. He led the assembling of a network of autonomous branches around the region, including in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, North Africa, Somalia, Yemen and Asia. Over the next decade, al-Qaida inspired or had a direct hand in attacks in all those areas as well as Europe, Pakistan and Turkey, including the 2004 train bombings in Madrid and the 2005 transit bombings in London.

More recently, the al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen proved itself capable of plotting attacks against U.S. soil with an attempted 2009 bombing of an American passenger jet and an attempted package bomb the following year.

But even before bin Laden’s death, al-Zawahri was struggling to maintain al-Qaida’s relevance in a changing Middle East.

He tried with little success to coopt the wave of uprisings that spread across the Arab world starting in 2011, urging Islamic hard-liners to take over in the nations where leaders had fallen. But while Islamists gained prominence in many places, they have stark ideological differences with al-Qaida and reject its agenda and leadership.

Nevertheless, al-Zawahri tried to pose as the Arab Spring’s leader. America “is facing an Islamic nation that is in revolt, having risen from its lethargy to a renaissance of jihad,” he said in a video eulogy to bin Laden, wearing a white robe and turban with an assault rifle leaning on a wall behind him.

Al-Zawahri was also a more divisive figure than his predecessor. Many militants described the soft-spoken bin Laden in adoring and almost spiritual terms.

In contrast, al-Zawahri was notoriously prickly and pedantic. He picked ideological fights with critics within the jihadi camp, wagging his finger scoldingly in his videos. Even some key figures in al-Qaida’s central leadership were put off, calling him overly controlling, secretive and divisive.

Some militants whose association with bin Laden predated al-Zawahri’s always saw him as an arrogant intruder.

"I have never taken orders from al-Zawahri,” Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, one of the network’s top figures in East Africa until his 2011 death, sneered in a memoir posted on line in 2009. “We don’t take orders from anyone but our historical leadership.”

There have been rumors of al-Zawahri’s death on and off for several years. 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 first proof in months that he was still alive.

A statement from Afghanistan’s Taliban government confirmed the airstrike, but did not mention al-Zawahri or any other casualties.

https://news.yahoo.com/biden-speak-operation-against-al-211414500.html

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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2022, 02:42:54 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2022, 09:17:18 AM »
US wanted al-Zawahiri 'even before the 9/11 strike' — here's why he was so crucial: Retired general

On Monday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling broke down the significance of the successful U.S. strike that took out Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda who took over from Osama bin Laden.

Zawahiri, noted Hertling, has been sought by the U.S. for decades — and was a critical piece of the terrorist operation.

"How significant is this strike killing the al-Qaeda leader?" asked anchor Wolf Blitzer.

"This is a target the U.S. has been going after for three decades, even before the 9/11 strike," said Hertling. "He leads al-Qaeda with various networks around the globe. Central places in control. These areas, we're talking about an individual who is the CEO of this organization. You can debate how powerful he is, compared to bin Laden, but it's a big deal."

Another important aspect, said Hertling, is how the U.S. was able to take him out despite no longer having on-the-ground intelligence capabilities in Afghanistan, having withdrawn U.S. forces last year.

"This is more than likely a drone strike. I would give that a 70 percent possibility," said Hertling. "I would not rule out a hand strike on this individual, either. What you are talking about, the kinds of things we were talking about when we withdrew from Afghanistan, this will be an over-the-horizon strike with very little capability for collecting intelligence within Afghanistan. This was a significant hit by both the intelligence community and anyone who pulled off the operation."

Watch below:


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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2022, 09:17:18 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2022, 09:21:09 AM »
President Biden Addresses Nation After Top Al Qaeda Leader Ayman al-Zawahiri Killed | NBC News

Watch coverage of President Joe Biden addressing the nation after the top Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed during a counterterrorism operation in Afghanistan.

Watch:


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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2022, 09:21:09 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2022, 04:02:05 PM »
How Joe Biden and his team decided to kill the world's most wanted terrorist
https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/01/politics/ayman-al-zawahiri-death-white-house-joe-biden/index.html

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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2022, 04:02:05 PM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2022, 04:21:22 PM »
US kills al-Qaeda leader in drone strike

President Joe Biden announced Monday that the U.S. had killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, over the weekend.

https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/News/video/us-kills-al-qaeda-leader-drone-strike-87795217

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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2022, 04:21:22 PM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2022, 05:28:20 PM »
The White House has released an image Tuesday showing President Biden huddling with his national security team ahead of the airstrike that resulted in the death of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri.

The photo was captured on July 1 in the buildup to the U.S.-led counterterrorism operation in Kabul, Afghanistan, that unfolded over the weekend.

"At this meeting, the President was briefed on the proposed operation and shown a model of the safe house where Al-Zawahri was hiding," the White House said in a statement.


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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2022, 05:28:20 PM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2022, 11:20:31 AM »
When President Joe Biden made the difficult decision to end the longtime U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, the entire mainstream media unfortunately seized the opportunity to chase ratings by dishonestly spinning the withdrawal as a catastrophe – and Biden’s approval rating suffered due to the media’s malfeasance.

Biden’s position at the time was that the U.S. did not need to continue occupying Afghanistan, at the ongoing cost of U.S. military personnel lives, just to have the upper hand over terrorist groups in the region – something that the media all but ignored in its thirst to cover the withdrawal in tabloid fashion.

But when Biden greenlit the CIA operation yesterday that took out the leader of Al Qaeda, it proved that he’d been correct all along. Middle Eastern terrorist groups are curtailed by surgical strikes against their leaders, not by trying to militarily occupy an entire broken nation.

In other words, President Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal has now been vindicated. This comes even as Biden’s plan to reduce gas prices has proved highly successful, his infrastructure plan continues to pay dividends, and other triumphs. Biden has been nailing it all along, and we’re now seeing the long term payoff. Now we wait to see if the media acknowledges that it’s been covering Biden dishonestly all along, and begins covering him in more honest fashion.

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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2022, 11:20:31 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2022, 01:42:11 PM »
Biden world sees vindication in his Afghanistan drawdown one year and one drone strike later
https://www.politico.com/news/2022/08/02/biden-afghanistan-al-zawahri-00049306

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Re: President Biden Announces al Qaeda Leader Killed in Drone Strike
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2022, 01:42:11 PM »

Offline Rick Plant

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