Alleged leader of Afghan Taliban terror group meet Three Taliban sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity that “how to respond” to the recent U.S. airstrike in Kabul that killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri will be discussed on Wednesday.
Reuters quoted a Taliban member on Aug. 3 as “holding an important position in Kabul.”
“The official said two days of lengthy leadership discussions had taken place, but declined to be named,” the news agency reported.
“Another Taliban official confirmed the high-level meeting but said he did not know what was being discussed,” Reuters added.
US President Joe Biden Announce In a national address on 2 August, a US military airstrike killed al-Zawahiri in Kabul on 30 July. The Taliban now rule Kabul after taking control of the seat of the Afghan government in August 2021. That means the group may have offered Zawahiri a safe haven in Kabul before he was assassinated, as he reportedly stood on a balcony in the capital.
Zawahiri was the leader of the international jihadist terrorist group al-Qaeda from 2011 until his death last week. He succeeded Osama bin Laden as head of al-Qaeda in 2011, after a U.S. special forces unit eliminated bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011. On September 11, 2001, bin Laden planned an al-Qaeda terrorist attack on US soil. The beginning of the U.S. War in Afghanistan (2001-2021) was based in part on Washington’s suspicions that Afghanistan’s Taliban terror group had harbored bin Laden’s country in the mountains shortly after the September 2001 attacks. The U.S. government also suspects that the Taliban has generally provided al Qaeda and its affiliates with safe havens in Afghanistan.
Zawahiri was bin Laden’s right-hand man before his death in 2011, meaning his influence on al Qaeda operations extends beyond his tenure as its top leader from 2011 to 2022.
In his Aug. 1 speech, Biden detailed some of al Qaeda’s most notorious acts of terror at the hands of al-Zawahiri, saying:
He has been the mastermind behind attacks on Americans for decades, including the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 American sailors and wounded dozens more.
He played a key role – in the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people and wounded more than 4,500.
He left a trail of murder and violence for American citizens, American service members, American diplomats, and American interests. And al-Zawahiri has been al-Qaeda’s leader — ringleader — since the United States brought justice to bin Laden 11 years ago.
Biden revealed that Zawahiri also made a video shortly before his death urging al Qaeda followers to “attack the United States and our allies.”
US State Department release The Aug. 3 “global warning” to U.S. citizens abroad warned them of an increased risk of “anti-American violence” following the July 30 assassination of al-Zawahiri.
“Current information indicates that terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions of the world. These attacks may employ a variety of tactics, including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings,” the notice reads.