Home Al-Qaeda leader responsible for 9/11 killed in Kabul

Al-Qaeda leader responsible for 9/11 killed in Kabul

Rebecca Barnabi
Virginia Street Art Festival
Artist David Wayne paints a mural on a wall at the Waynesboro Fire Department to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Photo courtesy Virginia Street Art Festival.

Eleven years after the United States government killed Osama bin Laden, the U.S. ordered a drone strike on Saturday that killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in downtown Kabul.

Zawahiri was waiting to reunite with family, according to a CNN report, and had previously served as bin Laden’s personal physician.

“I authorized a precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield, once and for all,” President Joe Biden said.

As chair of the Senate Intel Committee on Intelligence, Virginia’s Sen. Mark R. Warner responded to news of Zawahiri’s death.

“Al-Qaeda has been responsible for brutal attacks in not only the U.S., but Asia, Africa and Europe,” Warner said in a press release. “I commend the efforts of our Intel officers and servicemembers for finally — 21 years after the horrific 9/11 attacks — bringing one of its last remaining leaders to justice.”

Zawahiri had just turned 71, according to CNN. No family members were harmed in the drone strike that killed Zawahiri. Biden said the strike was possible because of the persistence and skill of the U.S.’s intelligence community.

“I applaud the tireless work of the intelligence community and the bravery of our military personnel in continuing to counter terrorism abroad. In my capacity as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I will keep working to support the IC’s counterterrorism efforts and keep Americans safe,” Warner added.

According to CNN, before reports of Zawahiri’s death, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid tweeted about the drone strike on July 31 and that “the nature of the incident was not apparent at first.” Mujahid also tweeted that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan “strongly condemns this attack on any pretext and calls it a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement.”

The U.S. government considered bin Laden and Zawahiri responsible for the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City and the Pentagon when nearly 3,000 Americans died.

“Now, justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more. People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer,” Biden said.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.