How exactly was Al-Qaeda's Zawahiri killed?
The United States carried out a strike that killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri. How exactly was this done?
US President Joe Biden announced hours ago that Washington's forces went back to Afghanistan and killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
Over two decades after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed thousands, the United States went back, almost 21 years later, and killed another one of the suspected architects of the September 11 attacks, which targeted the two main trade towers in the World Trade Center and the US Department of Defense, killing about 3,000 people.
Then-US President George W. Bush revealed that a terrorist organization called Al-Qaeda was responsible for the attack. Bush then declared the so-called "global war on terror," breaching every humanitarian law and calling on the Taliban movement in Afghanistan to turn in all Al-Qaeda authority and give the US full access to the organization’s training camps, or “they will share in their fate.”
The claimed "war on terror" was used as a pretext by the US to occupy Afghanistan and establish a military presence throughout the country.
In a "meticulously planned operation" - as proclaimed by US officials - the United States killed Al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan. The US armed forces, which had occupied Afghanistan for 20 years before withdrawing in a humiliating manner last August, fired two Hellfire missiles from a UAV flying over Kabul, striking the terrorist organization leader's house and killing him.
Officials in Washington said the plan was as elaborate as the one that killed Al-Zawahiri's predecessor, Osama bin Laden, in Pakistan in 2011.
"For several years the US government has been aware of a network that we assessed supported Zawahiri," a senior administration official told reporters.
The United States, however, only found out that Al-Zawahiri was in Afghanistan last year when they learned that his family, wife, daughter, and children moved to the Afghan capital.
The official said they were careful, exercising "longstanding terrorist tradecraft" to prevent anyone from tracking them to Al-Zawahiri.
"We identified Zawahiri on multiple occasions for sustained periods of time on the balcony," the official said, though the notorious terrorist had a $25 million bounty on his head.
Reportedly, Washington's forces studied the construction of the home, finalizing a plan using a detailed model of Al-Zawahiri's safehouse in Afghanistan and presenting it to Biden on July 1.
Biden took the decision and issued the order on July 25, just days before the operation took place.
Al-Zawahiri was "killed on the balcony," the US official said, in a strike that involved a UAV armed with two precision-guided Hellfire missiles launched at 6:18 am Sunday, Kabul time.
The strike was carried out using a non-explosive version of Hellfire, the R9X, which deploys a series of knife-like blades from its fuselage and shreds its target. The "flying ginsu" missiles have been used several times by the United States to kill other targets in Washington's scope.
"Zawahiri’s family members were present in other parts of the safe house at the time of the strike and were purposely not targeted and were not harmed," the official noted.
He added that the strike "deals a significant blow to Al-Qaeda and will degrade the group's ability to operate."
Al-Qaeda was founded by Osama bin Laden, once praised as a hero and funded by the United States for fending off the Soviets in Afghanistan. He was a prominent figure in the Mujahideen, a group backed by the CIA to undermine the Soviet Union and the country's communist government the USSR supported.
After bin Laden came up as a hero for Americans, he went down as a villain, though the group he founded was financed by the United States itself, over the terrorist activities Al-Qaeda carried out all over the world.