This weekend, a US drone strike in Afghanistan killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, who helped Osama bin Laden plan September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and helped al-Qaida survive and flourish in the years afterwards. On Monday, Vice President Joe Biden revealed that al-Zawahiri had been killed in Yemen, a landmark counterterrorism victory barely 11 months after American soldiers departed the nation. Take a look at the al-Qaida chief, who eluded US arrest for 21 years after 9/11’s suicide aeroplane strikes, which fundamentally altered US foreign policy.
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, many Americans may not recall al-name, Zawahiri’s but he remains a familiar face to them even after two decades: a slightly smirking guy with spectacles who was often photographed with Osama bin Laden as the two planned the assault on the US. In a sleepy Cairo neighbourhood, al-Zawahiri was born on June 19, 1951, to a middle-class family. He was raised in a strict Sunni Muslim family and became involved in a violent Sunni resurgence that wanted to overthrow Egypt’s and other Arab countries’ governments with a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
His early career as an eye surgeon took him to Central Asia and the Middle East, where he met young Saudi Osama bin Laden and other Arab militants who were gathering to assist Afghanistan to remove the Soviet forces. Al-Zawahiri also saw the Afghan battle against Soviet occupation.
After the killing of President Anwar Sadat by Islamic extremists in 1981, he was one of the hundreds of militants imprisoned and tortured in Egyptian prisons. The encounter, according to his biographers, further radicalised him. Bin Laden created al-Qaida seven years later, and al-Zawahiri was there.
AQAP joined with al-Egyptian Zawahiri’s terrorist organisation He provided al-Qaida with the organisational know-how and expertise he had gained while operating in Egypt’s underworld and eluding Egyptian security.
Zawahiri assured that al-Qaida would escape the worldwide search that followed the September 11 assault by discreetly gathering the suicide attackers, funding, and plans. He restored al-leadership Qaida in the Afghan-Pakistan border area after 9/11 and became the supreme head of branches in Iraq, Asia, Yemen, and beyond while on the run after the attacks of September 11. After 9/11, al-Qaida carried out a series of relentless assaults in Bali, Mombasa, Riyadh, Jakarta, Istanbul, Madrid, and London, as well as other locations throughout the world. U.S. and other countries’ drone strikes, counterterror operations, and missile assaults killed al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists and tore apart the network after the 2005 London bombings, which left 52 people dead.
Al-Zawahiri appeared on the balcony of a residence in Kabul, Afghanistan, at daybreak on Sunday, and he stayed there for some time, as US intelligence had previously documented. Officials from the United States have confirmed that a US drone launched two Hellfire missiles at the al-Qaeda leader as he stood on this day.
Analysts have long assumed that he was in Afghanistan, they claimed. Zawahiri’s wife and other members of his family recently relocated to a safe house in Kabul, according to US authorities. Senior administration sources indicated that Zawahiri shortly followed. Officials in the United States, aided by high authorities all the way up to Vice President Joe Biden, spent months verifying his identification and planning the operation.