[pjw] OUTRAGEOUS NEWS: US conducts drone strike in Afghanistan to kill "terrorist"

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Mon Aug 1 20:28:56 EDT 2022

IAG supporters
You know, the US pulled its troops out of Afghanistan at the end of 
August, and we had serious doubts whether they would stop bombing that 
country by remote. It appears as if they have now used a drone to kill a 
supposed Al Qaida leader.

We'll definitely be talking about this on Friday, bringing back out the 
stop the US war on Afghanistan signs. It will be interesting to see what 
the international community does, based on the current Afghan government's 
concerns noted in the article.

dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

AP sources: US operation killed al-Qaida leader al-Zawahri
   August 1, 2022 GMT

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- A U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan this weekend
    killed Ayman al-Zawahri, who took over as al-Qaida leader after Osama
    bin Laden's death in a U.S. raid. President Joe Biden was set to
    announce the killing Monday, delivering a significant counterterrorism
    win just 11 months after American troops left the country after a
    two-decade war.

    The strike, carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency, was
    confirmed by five people familiar with the matter who spoke on the
    condition of anonymity before Biden was set to brief the American
    people on the details of the operation in a 7:30 p.m. EDT address to
    the nation.

    Al-Zawahri's loss eliminates the figure who more than anyone shaped
    al-Qaida, first as Osama bin Laden's deputy since 1998, then as his
    successor. Together, he and bin Laden turned the jihadi movement's guns
    to target the United States, carrying out the deadliest attack ever on
    American soil -- the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide hijackings.

    Current and former officials began hearing Sunday afternoon that
    al-Zawahri had been killed in a drone strike, but the administration
    delayed releasing the information until his death could be confirmed,
    according to one person.

    White House officials declined to confirm al-Zawahri was killed but
    noted in a statement that the United States conducted a "successful"
    counterterrorism operation against a significant al-Qaida target,
    adding that "there were no civilian casualties."

    The house Al-Zawahri was in when he was killed was owned by a top aide
    to senior Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, according to a senior
    intelligence official. The official also added that a CIA ground team
    and aerial reconnaissance conducted after the drone strike confirmed
    al-Zawahri's death. Planning for the operation began six months ago,
    but intensified in the last two months, the official said.

    Over the 20-year war in Afghanistan, the U.S. targeted and splintered
    al-Qaida, sending leaders into hiding. But America's exit from
    Afghanistan last September gave the extremist group the opportunity to
    rebuild. U.S. military officials, including Gen. Mark Milley, chairman
    of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have said that al-Qaida was trying to
    reconstitute in Afghanistan, where it faced limited threats from the
    now-ruling Taliban. Military leaders have warned that the group still
    aspired to attack the U.S.

    The 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon made bin Laden
    America's Enemy No. 1. But he likely could never have carried it out
    without his deputy. Bin Laden provided al-Qaida with charisma and
    money, but al-Zawahri brought tactics and organizational skills needed
    to forge militants into a network of cells in countries around the

    Their bond was forged in the late 1980s, when al-Zawahri reportedly
    treated the Saudi millionaire bin Laden in the caves of Afghanistan as
    Soviet bombardment shook the mountains around them.

    Zawahri, on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist list, had a $25 million
    bounty on his head for any information that could be used to kill or
    capture him.

    Biden planned to speak from the balcony off the White House Blue Room
    as he remains in isolation in the residence while he continues to test
    positive for COVID-19.

    Al-Zawhiri and bin Laden plotted the 9/11 attacks that brought many
    ordinary Americans their first knowledge of al-Qaida.

    Photos from the time often showed the glasses-wearing, mild-looking
    Egyptian doctor sitting by the side of bin Laden. Al-Zawahiri had
    merged his group of Egyptian militants with bin Laden's al-Qaida in the

    "The strong contingent of Egyptians applied organizational know-how,
    financial expertise, and military experience to wage a violent jihad
    against leaders whom the fighters considered to be un-Islamic and their
    patrons, especially the United States," Steven A. Cook wrote for the
    Council on Foreign Relations last year.

    When the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan demolished al-Qaida's safe
    haven and scattered, killed and captured its members, al-Zawahri
    ensured al-Qaida's survival. He rebuilt its leadership in the
    Afghan-Pakistan border region and installed allies as lieutenants in
    key positions.

    He also reshaped the organization from a centralized planner of terror
    attacks into the head of a franchise chain. He led the assembling of a
    network of autonomous branches around the region, including in Iraq,
    Saudi Arabia, North Africa, Somalia, Yemen and Asia. Over the next
    decade, al-Qaida inspired or had a direct hand in attacks in all those
    areas as well as Europe, Pakistan and Turkey, including the 2004 train
    bombings in Madrid and the 2005 transit bombings in London.

    More recently, the al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen proved itself capable of
    plotting attacks against U.S. soil with an attempted 2009 bombing of an
    American passenger jet and an attempted package bomb the following

    But even before bin Laden's death, al-Zawahri was struggling to
    maintain al-Qaida's relevance in a changing Middle East.

    He tried with little success to coopt the wave of uprisings that spread
    across the Arab world starting in 2011, urging Islamic hard-liners to
    take over in the nations where leaders had fallen. But while Islamists
    gained prominence in many places, they have stark ideological
    differences with al-Qaida and reject its agenda and leadership.

    Nevertheless, al-Zawahri tried to pose as the Arab Spring's leader.
    America "is facing an Islamic nation that is in revolt, having risen
    from its lethargy to a renaissance of jihad," he said in a video eulogy
    to bin Laden, wearing a white robe and turban with an assault rifle
    leaning on a wall behind him.

    Al-Zawahri was also a more divisive figure than his predecessor. Many
    militants described the soft-spoken bin Laden in adoring and almost
    spiritual terms.

    In contrast, al-Zawahri was notoriously prickly and pedantic. He picked
    ideological fights with critics within the jihadi camp, wagging his
    finger scoldingly in his videos. Even some key figures in al-Qaida's
    central leadership were put off, calling him overly controlling,
    secretive and divisive.

    Some militants whose association with bin Laden predated al-Zawahri's
    always saw him as an arrogant intruder.

    "I have never taken orders from al-Zawahri," Fazul Abdullah Mohammed,
    one of the network's top figures in East Africa until his 2011 death,
    sneered in a memoir posted on line in 2009. "We don't take orders from
    anyone but our historical leadership."

    Speaking on Aug. 31, 2021, after the last U.S. troops left Afghanistan,
    Biden said the U.S. would not let up on its fight against terrorism in
    that country or elsewhere.

    "We will maintain the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other
    countries," he said. "We just don't need to fight a ground war to do
    it." Previewing the strike that would occur 11 months later, Biden said
    at the time, "We have what's called over-the-horizon capabilities,
    which means we can strike terrorists and targets without American boots
    on the ground -- or very few, if needed."

    There have been rumors of al-Zawahri's death on and off for several
    years. But a video surfaced in April of the al-Qaida leader praising a
    Indian Muslim woman who had defied a ban on wearing a hijab, or
    headscarf. That footage was the first proof in months that he was still

    A statement from Afghanistan's Taliban government confirmed the
    airstrike, but did not mention al-Zawahri or any other casualties.

    It said it "strongly condemns this attack and calls it a clear
    violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement," the 2020
    U.S. pact with the Taliban that led to the withdrawal of American

    "Such actions are a repetition of the failed experiences of the past 20
    years and are against the interests of the United States of America,
    Afghanistan, and the region," the statement said.


    Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor, Ellen Knickmeyer, Zeke
    Miller, Aamer Madhani and Darlene Superville in Washington; Rahim Faiez
    in Islamabad; and Lee Keath in Cairo contributed reporting.

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