A US drone strike in Afghanistan this weekend killed Ayman al-Zawahri, who helped Osama bin Laden plot the Sept. 11, 2001, assaults on the United States and ensured al-Qaida survived and unfold within the years after. President Joe Biden on Monday introduced the killing of al-Zawahri, delivering a major counterterrorism win simply 11 months after American troops left the nation.
A have a look at the al-Qaida chief, who evaded US seize for 21 years after the suicide airliner assaults that in some ways modified America and its relations with the remainder of the world.
WHO WAS AYMAN AL-ZAWAHRI?
Americans who lived by means of the 9/11 assaults might not bear in mind al-Zawahri’s title, however many know his face greater than twenty years on: a person in glasses, barely smiling, invariably proven in pictures by the facet of bin Laden as the 2 organized the strike on the United States.
An Egyptian, al-Zawahri was born June 19, 1951, to a snug household in a leafy, drowsy Cairo suburb. Religiously observant from boyhood, he immersed himself in a violent department of a Sunni Islamic revival that sought to interchange the governments of Egypt and different Arab nations with a harsh interpretation of Islamic rule.
Al-Zawahri labored as a watch surgeon as a younger grownup, but additionally roamed Central Asia and the Middle East, witnessing Afghans’ struggle towards Soviet occupiers in that nation, and assembly younger Saudi Osama bin Laden and different Arab militants rallying to assist Afghanistan expel Soviet troops.
He was one among tons of of militants captured and tortured in Egyptian jail after Islamic fundamentalists’ assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Biographers say the expertise additional radicalized him. Seven years later, al-Zawahiri was current when bin Laden based al-Qaida.
Al-Zawahri merged his personal Egyptian militant group was al-Qaida. He introduced al-Qaida the organizational talent and expertise — honed underground in Egypt, evading Egyptian intelligence — that allowed al-Qaida to prepare cells of followers and strike world wide.
WHY WAS AL-ZAWAHRI IMPORTANT?
After the years of quietly assembling the suicide attackers, funds and plans for the Sept. 11 assault, Zawahri ensured that al-Qaida survived the worldwide manhunt that adopted to assault once more.
On the run after 9/11, al-Zawahri rebuilt al-Qaida management within the Afghan-Pakistan border area and was the supreme chief over branches in Iraq, Asia, Yemen and past. With a credo of focusing on close to and much enemies, al-Qaida after 9/11 carried out years of unrelenting assaults: in Bali, Mombasa, Riyadh, Jakarta, Istanbul, Madrid, London and past. Attacks that killed 52 folks in London in 2005 had been amongst al-Qaida’s final devastating assaults within the West, as drone strikes, counterterror raids and missiles launched by the US and others killed al-Qaida-affiliated fighters and shattered components of the community.
HOW WAS HE KILLED?
Around dawn Sunday, Al-Zawahri got here outdoors on the balcony of a home in Kabul, Afghanistan, and apparently lingered there, as U.S. intelligence had famous he usually did. On today, a US drone fired two Hellfire missiles on the al-Qaida chief as he stood, in accordance with US officers, talking on situation of anonymity to debate the strike.
His presence in Afghanistan had been broadly suspected for a while, analysts mentioned. US officers realized this 12 months that Zawahri’s spouse and different members of the family had moved to a secure home in Kabul lately. Zawahri quickly adopted, the senior administration officers mentioned.
US officers, joined by prime leaders all the way in which as much as, ultimately, Biden, spent cautious months confirming his identification — and his fateful follow of standing alone on that very same balcony — and deliberate the strike.
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