Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a US strike in Afghanistan over the weekend, the largest blow to the terrorist group since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.
Zawahiri had been in hiding for years and the operation to find and kill him was the results of “cautious affected person and protracted” work by the counter-terrorism and intelligence neighborhood, a senior administration official informed reporters.
Till the US announcement, Zawahiri had been rumored variously to be in Pakistan’s tribal space or inside Afghanistan.
Talking on the situation of anonymity, the official supplied the next particulars on the operation:
* For a number of years, the US authorities had been conscious of a community that it assessed supported Zawahiri, and over the previous yr, following america’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, officers had been looking forward to indications of Al Qaeda’s presence within the nation.
This yr, officers recognized that Zawahiri’s household – his spouse, his daughter and her kids – had relocated to a secure home in Kabul and subsequently recognized Zawahiri on the identical location.
* Over a number of months, intelligence officers grew extra assured that they’d accurately recognized Zawahiri on the Kabul secure home and in early April began briefing senior administration officers. Jake Sullivan, Nationwide Safety Advisor, subsequently briefed President Joe Biden.
“We have been in a position to construct a sample of life via a number of unbiased sources of data to tell the operation,” the official stated.
As soon as Zawahiri arrived on the Kabul secure home, officers weren’t conscious of him leaving it they usually recognized him on its balcony – the place he was in the end struck – on a number of events, the official stated.
* Officers investigated the development and nature of the secure home and scrutinized its occupants to make sure america might confidently conduct an operation to kill Zawahiri with out threatening the structural integrity of the constructing and minimizing the danger to civilians and Zawahiri’s household, the official stated.
* In latest weeks, the president convened conferences with key advisors and Cupboard members to scrutinize the intelligence and consider the perfect plan of action. On July 1, Biden was briefed on a proposed operation within the White Home State of affairs Room by members of his cupboard together with CIA Director William Burns
Biden “requested detailed questions on what we knew and the way we knew it” and intently examined a mannequin of the secure home the intelligence neighborhood had constructed and delivered to the assembly.
He requested about lighting, climate, development supplies, and different components that would have an effect on the success of the operation, the official stated. The president additionally requested evaluation of the potential ramifications of a strike in Kabul.
* A good circle of senior inter-agency legal professionals examined the intelligence reporting and confirmed that Zawahiri was a lawful goal based mostly on his persevering with management of Al Qaeda.
On July 25, the president convened his key Cupboard members and advisors to obtain a remaining briefing and talk about how killing Zawahiri would have an effect on America’s relationship with the Taliban, amongst different points, the official stated. After soliciting views from others within the room, Biden approved “a exact tailor-made air strike” on the situation that it decrease the danger of civilian casualties.
* The strike was in the end carried out at 9:48 p.m. ET (0148 GMT) on July 30 by a drone firing so-called “hellfire” missiles.
(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by IHNS employees and is printed from a syndicated feed.)