United States (US) President Joe Biden has confirmed that Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in Kabul, Afghanistan, over the weekend by a US drone strike.
In a televised address, Biden said the strike in Kabul had been carried out on Saturday.
“I gave the final approval to go get him,” he said, adding that there had been no civilian casualties.
“Justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said.
Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who had a $25 million bounty on his head, helped coordinate September 11, 2001, attacks on US soil.
A senior US administration official said Zawahiri’s presence in the Afghan capital Kabul was a “clear violation” of a deal the Taliban had signed with the US in Doha in 2020 that paved the way for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that a strike took place and strongly condemned it, calling it a violation of “international principles”.
Saturday’s drone attack is the first known US strike inside Afghanistan since the US withdrawal in August 2021.