According to US media outlets, the US killed Al-Qaeda commander Ayman al-Zawahiri in what the White House called a “successful” operation against a target in Afghanistan on Monday.
Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who became one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, was recognized as the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, which murdered over 3,000 people.
He had been on the run since then, and took over Al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was assassinated in Pakistan in 2011. A $25 million bounty had been set on his head by the United States.
However, early Tuesday in Kabul, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that a “air attack” had been carried out on a residence in the city’s Sherpur district.
“At first, the nature of the occurrence was not divulged. “The Islamic Emirate’s security and intelligence agencies investigated the situation and discovered in preliminary investigations that the strike was carried out by American drones,” he stated in a tweet.
In recent months, the Taliban has effectively prohibited the media from documenting the aftermath of security incidents, typically denying or downplaying any losses.
The target’s identity was reported by the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN, citing unidentified sources. President Joe Biden was scheduled to speak on the operation later Monday.
It would be the first known over-the-horizon US strike on an Al-Qaeda target in Afghanistan since US soldiers left the country on August 31, 2021.
The location of the strike in Afghanistan was not specified by US officials.
The Afghan interior ministry rejected allegations of a drone strike in Kabul on Saturday morning, telling AFP that a missile struck “an empty house” in the city, causing no casualties.