Zawahiri’s killing by US a violation of ‘international principles’: Taliban

  • Mujahid, Afghanistan's deputy minister of information and culture also had a word of caution for the US over any future operation of a similar kind on Afghan soil

Livemint
First Published2 Aug 2022
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri(AFP)

Taliban has condemned the US drone strike that killed Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri on Sunday. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid called it a violation of "international principles". Mujahid, Afghanistan's deputy minister of information and culture under the current, Islamist group-led administration, also had a word of caution for the US over any future operation of a similar kind on Afghan soil.

“The action is against the interests of the United States of America and Afghanistan. Any future repetition may harm existing opportunities,” the statement read.

On the other hand, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said that the Taliban grossly violated the Doha Agreement by hosting and sheltering Al-Qaeda chief Zawahiri.

"By hosting and sheltering the leader of al Qa'ida in Kabul, the Taliban grossly violated the Doha Agreement and repeated assurances to the world that they would not allow Afghan territory to be used by terrorists to threaten the security of other countries," Blinken said in a statement.

The US and the Taliban signed the peace agreement in February 2020 under the Presidency of former US President Donald Trump. The deal stated the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghan soil and the Taliban would abate violence and guarantee that its soil will not be a safe haven for the terrorists.

On Sunday the US killed Zawahiri in an air strike. US President Joe Biden said, the biggest blow to the militant group since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011. It was the first known IS strike inside Afghanistan since the US troops and diplomats left the country in August 2021.

Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who had a $25 million bounty on his head, helped coordinate September 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

As per the news agency, the 71-year-old terrorist was killed when he came out on the balcony of his safe house in Kabul on Sunday morning, he was hit by "hellfire" missiles from a US drone.

Zawahiri succeeded bin Laden as al Qaeda leader after years as its main organizer and strategist, but his lack of charisma and competition from rival militants of the Islamic State hobbled his ability to inspire devastating attacks on the West.

There were rumours of Zawahiri's death several times in recent years, and he was long reported to have been in poor health.

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