Al Qaeda leader killed in July 30 U.S. drone strike

In this undated photo, Osama bin Laden, left, sits with adviser Ayman al-Zawahiri during an interview with a Pakistani journalist at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan.

In this undated photo, Osama bin Laden, left, sits with adviser Ayman al-Zawahiri during an interview with a Pakistani journalist at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan. Visual News/Getty Images

President Biden addressed nation this week. Strike “made good” on president's promise to target terrorists after withdrawing from Afghanistan, an official said.

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden said Monday.

“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 in a televised prime-time address. 

An unmanned aerial vehicle launched two Hellfire missiles at a safe house in Kabul just before 10 p.m. Eastern time on July 30, hitting al-Zawahiri when he stepped onto a balcony, the official said. Family members in other parts of the safe house were not harmed, and there are no indications that any other civilians were hurt in the strike, a senior administration official said. 

The official declined to say which agency conducted the strike, saying that it was a “team effort” by the American government. The official said there were “zero” American personnel on the ground in Afghanistan during the operation.

The strike against al-Zawahiri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden after the al-Qaeda founder was killed by Navy SEALs in 2011, is the first major American military action in Afghanistan since the military withdrew last August. The departure of Western troops raised concerns that the U.S. government would struggle to conduct missions and collect intelligence from “over the horizon”—i.e., outside the country.

“Even as the president ended two decades of war in Afghanistan by getting American men and women out of harm's way there, he promised that we would establish a capacity outside the country to identify and address terrorist threats to Americans,” the official said. “He made good on that with this action.” 

Al-Zawahiri, who had served as bin Laden’s deputy, was involved in the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, according to the FBI, and the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. He also helped organize the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

“To the families that lost fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends and coworkers on that searing September day, it is my hope that this decisive action will bring one more measure of closure,” Biden said. 

The terrorist leader’s death will deal a “significant blow” to Al Qaeda’s ability to plan attacks against the United States, the official said. 

Members of Congress quickly commended the White House for the successful operation.

“Al-Zawahiri led al-Qaeda for over a decade and has the blood of far too many U.S. servicemembers and innocent civilians on his hands,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said in a statement. “I commend the dedicated planning and execution of this successful mission. When allowed to do their jobs, we have the most advanced and lethal military and covert operations forces in the world.”

“We must continue our coordinated effort to defeat Al Qaeda and deny them financing, recruiting tools, and safe haven,” Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a separate statement. “Even as we focus on strategic competition with near-peer rivals, we must continue to hone our counterterrorism approach with allies and partners.”

The administration official emphasized Biden’s attention to minimizing any potential for civilian casualties while planning the strike. The president asked for more information on the house al-Zawahiri was living in, and asked the intelligence community to prepare a report so he could “fully understand the ramifications of the strike.” 

Biden greenlit the strike on July 25 after meeting with senior cabinet members and advisors for a final briefing, the official said. 

Terrorists in the Haqqani network worked quickly after the strike to cover up that al-Zawahiri had been living in the house, including evacuating his wife and children, the official said.

This article was published first on DefenseOne and GovExec, FederalSoup partner sites ("Al Qaeda Leader Killed In US Drone Strike, Biden Says.") 

NEXT STORY: Small business contract awards hit record $154B

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.