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US kills al-Qaeda leader in drone strike in Afghanistan: reports


The United States has killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to US media.

Washington:

The United States has killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to US media, in what the White House announced on Monday as a “successful” operation against a target in Afghanistan.

Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who became one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, has been identified as the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States that killed nearly 3,000 people.

He had been on the run ever since and took over al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in 2011. The United States had placed a $25 million bounty on his head.

The New York Times, Washington Post and CNN were among outlets that revealed the identity of the target, citing unidentified sources. President Joe Biden was scheduled to deliver a televised address on the operation later on Monday.

It would be the first known U.S. over-the-horizon strike on an al-Qaeda target in Afghanistan since the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country on August 31, 2021.

US officials did not specify where in Afghanistan the strike took place.

On Saturday morning, the Afghan Interior Ministry denied reports circulating on social media of a drone strike in Kabul, telling AFP that a rocket hit “an empty house” in the capital, without causing casualties.

Early Tuesday in Kabul, however, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that an “air strike” had been carried out on a residence in the city’s Sherpur neighborhood.

“The nature of the incident was not initially revealed. The Islamic Emirate’s security and intelligence agencies investigated the incident and found in their preliminary investigations that the attack was carried out by American drones,” his tweet read.

In recent months, the Taliban has largely banned the media from covering the aftermath of security incidents and frequently denies or minimizes casualties.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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