According to U.S. President Joe Biden, the CIA was successful in killing Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden.
The news was first reported by Fox News anchor Bret Baier on Monday afternoon, who cited intelligence sources calling it a win for the U.S. military against the terror chief.
The news was later confirmed by the Washington Post and the Associated Press, followed by President Biden himself who gave an address about the successful liquidation.
“On Saturday, at my direction, the United States successfully conducted an airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed the emir of al-Qa’ida: Ayman al-Zawahiri,” wrote Biden on Twitter. “Justice has been delivered.”
News of al-Zawahiri’s death comes two years after rumors of his incapacitation, but reports of his death appeared to be premature due to his appearance on video in 2021 commemorating the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
White House officials informed reporters that the United States conducted a successful counter-terrorism operation “against a significant Al-Qaeda target in Afghanistan,” adding that the operation did not have any civilian casualties.
It is understood that the United States used a so-called “flying ginsu” to liquidate the terrorist. The weapon, which is equipped as a warhead on a Hellfire missile fired by an MQ-9 Reaper drone, allows operators to target individuals and kill them with pinpoint accuracy with little collateral damage.
The knife warhead is effectively gravity-based and deploys a bloom of steel blades prior to hitting the target instead of killing them with explosive force.
The Taliban, which took over Afghanistan following Biden’s withdrawal of the U.S. military from the country condemned the assassination as a “clear violation” of the 2020 Doha Agreement, which was signed by the Taliban and the U.S. to facilitate the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan.
“Such 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,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken fired back at the Taliban, accusing the group of harboring terrorists in Kabul.
“In the face of the Taliban’s unwillingness or inability to abide by their commitments, we will continue to support the Afghan people with robust humanitarian assistance and to advocate for the protection of their human rights, especially of women and girls,” Blinken said in a statement.