Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid released a statement late Monday in which he “strongly condemns” a US drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, which leftist President Joe Biden announced killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Reports citing US intelligence officials indicate that al-Zawahiri, who took over the organization after the US government eliminated predecessor Osama bin Laden, lived openly and comfortably in Kabul after the US-backed government left the country to the Taliban.
Biden announced in an evening address Monday that a US airstrike had killed al-Zawahiri with no civilian casualties — a stark contrast to the Biden airstrike last year that killed ten Afghan civilians, including children, with no benefits to national security.
At least 10 people, including children, have been killed in a US airstrike in #Kabul on Sundays, local residents say. US officials said they targeted a car carrying Daesh suicide bombers. pic.twitter.com/4oltmedJDA
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) August 30, 2021
Taliban officials had agreed in a deal with former President Donald Trump’s administration to cut all ties with al-Qaeda and other jihadist terrorist groups in exchange for Washington to withdraw all troops and end the two-decade-old Afghan war. Biden broke that agreement last year, breaching the May 1, 2021 UKTN, which both sides had agreed to and extending the war until August.
The Taliban called Biden’s extension of the Afghan war a violation of the deal brokered with Trump in Doha, Qatar, and used it to launch a campaign of conquest that culminated in the capture of Kabul on August 15, 2022 — which, of course, also included violated the agreement. Mujahid (top photo), the spokesman, later falsely claimed that the Taliban had never agreed to cut ties with al-Qaeda.
“Nowhere in the agreement is it stated whether or not we have any affiliation with anyone,” he claimed.
Despite Biden violating the agreement last year, Mujahid complained on Monday that the strike that eliminated al-Zawahiri was a violation of the Doha deal.
Mujahid’s statement first confirmed that a US airstrike had taken place in Kabul.
“The Islamic Emirate” [the Taliban’s] security and intelligence agencies have investigated the incident and, in their preliminary investigations, found that the attack was carried out by US drones,” the statement said.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strongly condemns this attack for whatever reason and calls it a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement,” Mujahid wrote. “Such actions are a repeat of the failed experiences of the past 20 years and are against the interests of the United States of America, Afghanistan and the region. Repeating such actions will hurt the available opportunities.”
In particular, Mujahid failed to mention al-Qaeda or Ayman al-Zawahiri in his sentencing.
Similarly, Biden did not mention the Taliban at all in his Monday night speech announcing the death of al-Zawahiri.
Biden claimed that the al-Qaeda leader had “moved to central Kabul to reunite with members of his immediate family,” without elaborating further. Focusing instead on al-Zawahiri’s biographical information, the president warned, “No matter how long it takes — wherever you hide — if you pose a threat to our people, the United States will find you and turn you off.”
Biden stressed “none of his” [al-Zawahiri’s] relatives were injured and there were no civilian casualties.”
The president also claimed that the elimination of Al-Qaeda’s top target, for which US officials offered a $25 million reward, demonstrated the wisdom of Biden’s chaotic plan to extend the Afghan war, close the Trump-brokered deal with the Taliban. and abruptly leave the country in the hands of the Taliban.
“When I ended our military mission in Afghanistan almost a year ago, I made the decision that after 20 years of war, the United States no longer needed thousands of boots in Afghanistan to protect America from terrorists who want to harm us. said Biden. “We will never again allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists.”
The circumstances surrounding al-Zawahiri’s life in Kabul suggest that the Taliban were aware of his presence and protected him. The newspaper of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) national reported Tuesday that al-Zawahiri lived in an upscale neighborhood in Kabul and would appear “regularly out in the open, on his balcony,” apparently without worrying about identification.
The announcement Monday that the US had killed Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor, in a drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, was welcome news for Americans, though it also raised difficult new questions. https://t.co/Xk0SyUGcAk
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) August 2, 2022
“The Taliban have been accused for years of harboring extremists. They have denied it time and again,” NPR reporter Steve Inskeep explained in a report Monday from the Afghan capital, “But this was in a very heavily secured part of the city with checkpoints everywhere and very close to the ministries.”
A United Nations report published two weeks ago confirmed that al-Zawahiri was alive and “probably active in Afghanistan”.
“Member States note that al-Zawahiri’s apparent increased comfort and ability to communicate coincided with the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and the consolidation of power of the main [Al Qaeda] allies within their de facto government,” noted the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby admitted in an interview with MSNBC Monday that “senior leaders of the Haqqani Network,” a terrorist entity with “government positions” in the Taliban that serves as the liaison of the group with al-Qaeda itself, “were aware” of al-Zawahiri’s whereabouts.
The Biden State Department bizarrely tried to claim that the Haqqani Network and the Taliban were “separate entities” shortly after the Taliban’s conquest of Afghanistan last year, even as several members of the Haqqani family held high positions in leadership. of the Taliban.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, the head of the Haqqani network, published an opinion article in the New York Times titled “What We The Taliban Want” last year.
Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.