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Eleven years after Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed, his close aide who took over the terrorist organization’s leadership after his death, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was also eliminated by American forces through a drone strike on his safe house in Kabul, Afghanistan, over the weekend. US President Joe Biden made the announcement in a televised public address.

This is a big win for America. Al-Zawahiri was believed to be a key mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Significantly, he was an influential ideologue of a global Islamist movement that was ready to use indiscriminate violence for its ends. With him at the helm of Al Qaeda, the group still held some sway on impressionable minds, even if its capacity for terror strikes was seen to have diminished. Unless a new leader emerges who can hold followers under a similar spell, this rag-tag militia will likely fall apart. In short, this could be the end of a threat that shook America and the world two decades ago. Nevertheless, Al Qaeda must stay under close watch. Its offshoots have been deadly, and its members could regroup under another banner. Indian intelligence agencies should stay vigilant.

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