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Al-Qaeda killing brings Taliban scrutiny

Ayman al-Zawahri, left, and Osama Bin Laden, right Associated Press/Photo by Mazhar Ali Khan, file

Al-Qaeda killing brings Taliban scrutiny

About a year after the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent Taliban takeover, a U.S. drone strike Sunday killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in  Kabul, according to U.S. officials. The Taliban had promised not to harbor al-Qaeda personnel in the 2020 Doha Agreement, which led to U.S. forces withdrawing last year. A statement from the Taliban confirmed the airstrike, condemning the attack, but did not mention al-Zawahiri or any other casualties.

What will this mean? The Taliban has sought to regain access to billions of dollars of development funding and national assets that the United States has withdrawn or frozen. This incident will likely handicap those efforts. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken seized on al-Zawahiri’s location at the time of his killing as evidence that the Taliban has “grossly violated” provisions of the Doha Agreement. Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said it was the United States that violated the agreement by carrying out the drone strike.

Dig deeper: Read Mindy Belz’s report from the WORLD archives about how the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of WORLD Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.


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