Ayman al-Zawahiri (R) |Photo Credit: Reuters
President Joe Biden gave the order for the US government to kill Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was regarded as the number one most wanted terrorist. Al Qaeda’s commander Zawahiri was a key figure in the execution of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
According to US authorities, the plan was challenging to execute. The operation took several months before Biden finally gave the order to attack Zawahiri by zone strike from his Kabul balcony. Biden admitted that the operation was kept under wraps, with only a few of his top advisers being aware of it.
Those involved in the project had to build models of the apparent safe house where Zawahiri was staying. The model was central to Biden’s ultimate decision to launch the drone attack.
According to Biden, he feared the planned drone strike would hit other civilians in the area. The president said he didn’t want the operation to be the same as the drone strike they launched 11 months earlier that killed other civilians.
Throughout the course of the plan, Biden repeatedly commanded his subordinates to make sure that Zawahiri’s family and no other civilians were killed. According to reports, only Zawahiri was killed during the strike.
A victory for the Biden administration
On Monday, Biden announced the success from the White House balcony, where he is currently in self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19. The president stayed on top of the drone strike authorization process while in isolation.
Given the approval support ratings of Biden’s administration, the operation represents a significant success.
“People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer. The United States continues to demonstrate our resolve and our capacity to defend the American people against those who seek to do us harm,” stated Biden while in the White House’s Blue Room Balcony.
What it took to authorize the attack
According to intelligence reports, it was established that Zawahiri visited his Kabul safe house last April. While Zawahiri’s actions were carefully watched, Biden was briefed by his officials. The intelligence service took into account the support groups gathered behind the terrorist leader, as well as the regular visits of his wife and children in the area.
Then, as they determined the layout of the building where Zawahiri resided, officials charted patterns of behavior and activity.
Other tenants in the place have been identified, as civilian safety is also a top priority for Biden and his officials during the supposed drone attack.
The location of the safe house, which is surrounded by houses of residence, presented another difficulty. The operatives working on the plans stated that every aspect had to be taken into account before delivering Biden the striking alternatives. Leaks were avoided because only a “very small and select number” of people were aware of the plot, according to the authorities.
The proposed plan also took into account Mark Frerich’s situation, who was kidnapped within the Afghan border about two years ago.
“Going forward with the Taliban, we will continue to hold them accountable for their actions. And we have made clear to them in the intervening days that we also expect them to take no action that would harm Mark Frerichs, as we were involved in the effort to secure his release after his long detention and captivity,” Biden stated.
The plans had virtually been completed as the months passed. High-ranking officials then convened for a secret meeting. Liz Sherwood Randall, Homeland Security Adviser, Bill Burns, Director of the CIA, Jake Sullivan, National Security Adviser, and his deputy Jon Finer, as well as Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence, sat alongside Biden.
On July 25, Biden tested positive for Covid-19 and was isolated. However, the plant went on, and the final authorization was given.
Authorities reported that the target, Zawahiri, was killed by the hit on July 30 without causing any collateral damage. Two Hellfire missiles were authorized to strike the area.
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