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US Strikes Down al-Qaida Chief in Coronary heart of Kabul  – The Diplomat

The Pulse | Safety | South Asia

It’s tough to imagine that the Taliban have been unaware of al-Zawahri residing in a secure home in the course of Kabul.

US Strikes Down al-Qaida Leader in Heart of Kabul 

As seen on a pc display from a DVD ready by Al-Sahab manufacturing, al-Qaida’s Ayman al-Zawahri speaks in Islamabad, Pakistan, on June 20, 2006.

Credit score: AP Picture/B.Okay.Bangash, File

When america stumbled out of Afghanistan in mid-August 2021, President Joe Biden mentioned that Washington would “keep the battle towards terrorism in Afghanistan and different nations.” He mentioned the U.S. would retain “over-the-horizon capabilities” to strike “terrorists and targets.”

Almost a yr later, al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri was killed in a U.S. drone strike in a Kabul. The strike on July 31 was initially reported by the Taliban Inside Ministry to have been a rocket hitting an “vacant home” within the Sherpur neighborhood. However studies quickly surfaced that the goal had been al-Zawahri, a truth confirmed by Biden on August 1. 

A Taliban spokesman condemned the strike on August 1 and known as it a violation of “worldwide ideas” and the 2020 Doha settlement. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his August 1 assertion concerning the dying of al-Zawahri was unequivocal, calling out the Taliban for violating the Doha settlement: “By internet hosting and sheltering the chief of al Qa’ida in Kabul, the Taliban grossly violated the Doha Settlement and repeated assurances to the world that they’d not enable Afghan territory for use by terrorists to threaten the safety of different nations.”

As soon as once more, the Taliban and Washington have divergent interpretations of the February 2020 settlement settled between the Trump administration and the Taliban, which ostensibly was to pave the best way for a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and a negotiated peace between the Taliban and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The five-page settlement, labeled as “complete” by the Trump administration, was something however; its phrases have been too good to be true.

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In June 2020, mere months after the settlement, a U.N. report claimed that the Taliban had not reduce ties with al-Qaida. On the time, Saurav Sarkar famous in an article for The Diplomat, “The Taliban-al-Qaida alliance has survived the deaths of bin Laden and two Taliban emirs, which is indicative of one thing a lot deeper than private relationships on the high stage.” That violated the Taliban’s finish of the cut price. The next yr, after a tumultuous election cycle in america dumped Trump from workplace, Washington pushed again its withdrawal date — initially Might 2021 — which the Taliban decried as a violation of the settlement. When the Taliban pushed into Kabul in August 2021 and the Western-backed authorities of Ashraf Ghani collapsed, the Doha Settlement was in tatters. And but, each the U.S. and Taliban nonetheless name upon it as a degree of reference. 

The Taliban, certainly, didn’t abandon the connection with al-Qaida; or on the very least the Haqqani Community, a strong faction inside the Taliban, didn’t. Because the Related Press’ Rahim Faiez and Munir Ahmed reported, al-Zawahri was killed in an “upscale” Kabul neighborhood. In accordance with the AP, citing a senior U.S. intelligence official, the “home the place al-Zawahri stayed was the house of a high aide to senior Taliban chief Sirajuddin Haqqani.”

Simply because it was laborious to fathom that the Pakistani authorities was unaware of Osama bin Laden’s residing in Abbottabad when the U.S. staged a dramatic cross-border raid to kill him in 2011, it’s tough to imagine that the Taliban have been unaware of al-Zawahri residing in a secure home in the course of Kabul.

The killing of al-Zawahri received’t alter the character of relations between the U.S. and the Taliban, but it surely may stoke inner stress for the Taliban — if certainly some leaders the place conscious, and others weren’t. For the U.S., though al-Qaida’s energy is far diminished from twenty years in the past, the strike demonstrates a usable functionality to strike targets when and the place Washington needs to.



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