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Exclusive | Eyewitness Recounts Drone Attack on al Qaeda's Al Zawahiri, Reveals Pakistan Link

By: Manoj Gupta

CNN-News18

Last Updated: August 03, 2022, 19:00 IST

New Delhi, India

The death of al-Zawahiri (right) dealt a big blow to the al-Qaeda terrorist group. (Image: Reuters)

The death of al-Zawahiri (right) dealt a big blow to the al-Qaeda terrorist group. (Image: Reuters)

At present, the top 40 leaders of the Taliban top brass are out of Kabul and have moved to Logar and Khost province. Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Hasan is also not in the palace

In the biggest blow to terror modules across the world since Osama Bin Laden was shot dead more than a decade ago, the United States killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri with a drone missile while he stood on a balcony at his home in Kabul on Tuesday.

A day later, an eyewitness account of the attack has revealed to CNN-News18 that the attack on al-Zawahiri happened at around 6.15am in Kabul’s Shripur area, which is very close to foreign diplomatic missions.

The guesthouse where the dreaded terrorist was staying is in the deep of Afghanistan government’s secret offices.

Interestingly, a delegation of outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was also staying near this guesthouse. The moment they realised the building was hit, chief of Haqqani network and interior minister of Afghanistan Sirajuddin Haqqani fled to Logar province of Afghanistan, which is 40 kilometres from Kabul, in 4-6 armoured vehicles.

Haqqani, who also carries a US bounty, possibly fled due to the possibility of an attack on him.

According to reports, Maulana Nida Mohammad and the Kabul Police chief were also killed in the attack. While there are reports of 4-5 people being killed in the attack, there is a possibility of three Pakistani officials also losing their lives. However, CNN-News18 could not confirm the toll.

At present, the top 40 leaders of the Taliban top brass are out of Kabul and have moved to Logar and Khost province. Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Hasan is also not in the palace.

Despite a $25 million US bounty on his head, Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was apparently hiding in Afghanistan at a home in Kabul following Taliban’s takeover. However, the US government had not given up its pursuit of one of the planners of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the heir to Osama bin Laden.

The officials described the operation as meticulously planned as that which killed bin Laden in his Pakistan hideout in 2011.

The missile attack to kill the Al-Qaeda chief was similar to the operation to eliminate Osama bin Laden. Laden, the Al-Qaeda commander, was killed in a dramatic night-time raid by US helicopters and troops on his hideout in Abbottabad near Pakistani capital, Islamabad in 2011.

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first published:August 03, 2022, 19:00 IST
last updated:August 03, 2022, 19:00 IST