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Afghanistan: Al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri killed in US drone strike

The leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan, US President Joe Biden has confirmed.

Ayman was killed in a counter-terrorism operation carried out by the CIA in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday.

Ayman and Osama Bin Laden plotted the 9/11 attacks together, and he was one of America’s “most wanted terrorists”.

Joe Biden said Zawahiri had “carved a trail of murder and violence against American citizens”.

“Since the United States delivered justice to bin Laden 11 years ago, Zawahiri has been a leader of al-Qaeda,” Mr Biden said. “From hiding, he co-ordinated al-Qaeda’s branches and all around the world, including setting priorities for providing operational guidance and calling for and inspired attacks against US targets.”

“Now justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more,” he added.

Zawahiri took over al-Qaeda after the death of Bin Laden in 2011.

Officials said Zawahiri was on the balcony of a safe house when the drone fired two missiles at him.

Other family members were present, but they were unharmed and only Zawahiri was killed in the attack, they added.

Mr Biden said he had given the final approval for the “precision strike” on the 71-year-old Egyptian after months of planning.

A spokesman  for Taliban described the US drone operation as a clear violation of international principles – but did not mention Zawahiri.

“Such actions are a repetition of the failed experiences of the past 20 years and are against the interests of the United States of America, Afghanistan and the region,” the spokesman said.

But US officials maintained that the operation had a legal basis.

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