Al-Qaeda Leader Killed in US Drone Strike

    Photo: Reuters [via BBC]

    The Facts

    • US Pres. Biden announced Mon. that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda and one of the masterminds of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, was killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan.

    • Osama bin Laden's successor was said to have been killed Sun. in a "precision strike" as part of a CIA counterterrorism operation, which had reportedly been planned for months.

    The Spin

    Republican narrative

    The whole case raises a key question: Why was Zawahiri in Kabul in the first place? This killing is above all proof that the Afghan threat posed by al-Qaeda hasn't been averted following Washington's disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan; al-Qaeda remains more present in the country – with the Taliban's permission – than the admin. is willing to acknowledge. This foreign policy "triumph" for Biden is also the admission of a massive defeat.

    Democratic narrative

    The Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan hasn't hampered US counterterrorism operations. Biden's approach to fighting terrorism is working, and the killing of this terrorist patriarch in downtown Kabul is also a confirmation that the Taliban cannot be trusted.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The strike was a clear violation of the Doha agreement, and an attack on the sovereignty of Afghanistan. The US demonstrated that it continues to collect intelligence and even has military presence in the country. Such overt violations set a dangerous precedent and are condemnable regardless of the circumstances.

    Political split



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