Leaders from Afghanistan’s Taliban terrorist group allegedly met Wednesday to discuss “how we respond” to a U.S. strike that killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman alZawahiri, according to three Taliban sources who spoke anonymously to Reuters.
“There is a meeting at a very top level about how they should respond to the drone strike and, in the event they decide to, what’s the right way?” Reuters reported August 3, citing the account from a Taliban member who “holds an important position” in Kabul .”
” According to the news agency, an official who claimed that there were lengthy discussions about leadership for two days declined to identify himself.
“Another Taliban official confirmed high-level meetings, but said he didn’t know what was being talked about,” Reuters reported.
U.S. President Joe Biden announced in a national address on August 2 that a U.S. military airstrike killed al-Zawahiri in Kabul on July 30. The Taliban currently rules Kabul after seizing control of the Afghan seat of government in August 2021. The group likely provided al-Zawahiri a safe place in Kabul prior to his assassination. He was reportedly standing on a balcony of the capital.
Osama bin Laden (L) sits with his adviser Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian linked to the al Qaeda network, during an interview with Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir (not pictured) at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan. (Photo by Visual News/Getty Images)
Al-Zawahiri served as the leader of al-Qaeda, an international jihadist terror organization, from 2011 until his death last week. He succeeded Osama bin Laden as al-Qaeda’s chief in 2011 after a U.S. special forces team neutralized bin Laden in May of that year in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Bin Laden masterminded terrorist attacks on American soil by al-Qaeda on September 11, 2001. The U.S. War in Afghanistan (2001-2021) began based, in part, on suspicions by Washington that Afghanistan’s Taliban terror group had harbored bin Laden within the mountainous nation in the immediate aftermath of the September 2001 attacks. Additionally, the U.S. government suspected that Taliban provided al-Qaeda’s affiliates with hiding places in Afghanistan.
Al-Zawahiri served as bin Laden’s right-hand prior to bin Laden’s death in 2011, meaning his influence on al-Qaeda’s operations extended beyond his tenure as its top leader from 2011 to 2022.
Biden described some of al-Qaeda’s most notorious terror acts by al-Zawahiri in his speech on August 1.
For decades, he was a mastermind behind attacks against Americans, including the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, which killed 17 American sailors and wounded dozens more.
He played a key role — a key role in the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 and wounding over 4,500 others.
He left a trail that included murders and violence against American citizens and servicemen, American diplomats and American interests. And since the United States delivered justice to bin Laden 11 years ago, Zawahiri has been a leader of al Qaeda — the leader.
Al-Zawahiri also produced videos just before his death in which he urged al-Qaeda followers to “attack the United States of America and our allies,” Biden disclosed.
The U.S. State Department issued a “Worldwide Caution” to U.S. citizens abroad on August 3 warning them of a heightened risk for “anti-American violence” in the aftermath of Al-Zawahiri’s assassination on July 30.
” Current information indicates that terrorist groups continue to plot terrorist attacks against U.S. interest in multiple locations around the world. The notice stated that these attacks could employ many tactics, including assassinations and kidnappings. They also may use bombings.