The Taliban stated on Thursday that they are unaware of Ayman al-location Zawahiri’s in Afghanistan, days after US Vice President Joe Biden reported that the Al Qaeda leader was killed in Kabul by a drone strike.
The assassination of Zawahiri is the most devastating blow to Al Qaeda since the 2011 death of Osama bin Laden and calls into question the Taliban’s commitment not to harbor extremist groups.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has no information of Ayman al-visit Zawahiri’s and stay in Kabul,” according to an official statement, marking the first time the Taliban have mentioned his name since Biden’s announcement.
Zawahiri was considered to have been in command of Al Qaeda’s operations, including the 9/11 attacks, and bin Laden’s physician.
Sunday morning, a senior US administration official fired two Hellfire missiles at a 71-year-old Egyptian standing on the balcony of a three-story house in the Afghan capital.
How did the CIA discover and assassinate Al Qaeda’s leader Zawahiri?
The carefully worded statement issued by the Taliban on Thursday neither verified his presence in Afghanistan nor acknowledged his death.
“The leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has ordered the intelligence agencies to conduct a thorough and serious inquiry,” the statement read.
We intensely deplore the fact that the United States invaded our territory and violated all international principles.
If this activity is repeated, the United States of America will be responsible for any consequences.
In their statement, the Taliban emphasized “no threat” to any country emanating from Afghanistan.
They demanded that the United States stick to the February 2020 Doha agreement that set the path for the departure of foreign soldiers from Afghanistan, bringing to a close twenty years of US-led military engagement in the nation.
In announcing Zawahiri’s killing on Tuesday, Vice President Biden stated that “justice has been served” to the families of 9/11 victims.
Since Washington withdrew its soldiers from Afghanistan on August 31, 2012, days after the Taliban retook power, Sunday’s drone strike was the first known over-the-horizon strike against an Afghan target.
The property targeted by the strike is located in Sherpur, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Kabul, where high-ranking Taliban officials and commanders hold multiple villas.
Zawahiri gained control of Al Qaeda after bin Laden’s death, and a US bounty of $25 million was placed on his head.
A month before the first anniversary of the total withdrawal of US soldiers from Afghanistan, the Taliban insurgency that has fought Western forces since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 now controls the country.