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News18 Exclusive | No One from the Haqqani Family Killed in US Strike on Al-Qaeda Chief, Say Taliban Sources

By: Manoj Gupta

CNN-News18

Last Updated: August 02, 2022, 15:18 IST

New Delhi, India

Smoke rising from a house in Kabul on July 31, 2022. Sources said the strike took place at 6am on July 30 in the upscale Sherpur Cantt area in the heart of Kabul. (Aamaj News/Handout via Reuters)

Smoke rising from a house in Kabul on July 31, 2022. Sources said the strike took place at 6am on July 30 in the upscale Sherpur Cantt area in the heart of Kabul. (Aamaj News/Handout via Reuters)

The house which Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was struck is reportedly owned by a top aide of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is now the interior minister in the Taliban government

The US precision strike that took out Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in the centre of Kabul did not kill any members of the Haqqani family, Taliban sources in the Afghan capital told News18 on Tuesday.

Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who had a $25 million bounty on his head, had helped coordinate the September 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. Zawahiri was reportedly killed when he came out on the balcony of his safe house in Kabul and was hit by “hellfire" missiles from a US drone.

Sources said the strike took place at 6am on July 30 in the upscale Sherpur Cantt area in the heart of Kabul. The location is close to the Iranian and Turkish embassies.

In remarks from the White House, US President Joe Biden said he had authorised the precision strike in downtown Kabul and that no civilians were killed. “Now justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more. No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out," he said.

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Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid had previously confirmed that a strike took place in Kabul on Sunday and strongly condemned it, calling it a violation of “international principles”.

As per media reports, members of the dreaded terror group Haqqani Network tried to conceal that Ayman al-Zawahiri was at the safe house in Kabul.

“After the US drone strike that killed al-Zawahiri, members of the terror group Haqqani Network had tried to conceal that the al-Qaeda leader was at the house in Kabul, which reportedly was owned by a top aide to Sirajuddin Haqqani, and restricted access to the site," The New York Times reported.

The report, citing a senior administration official, said that according to one American analyst, the house that was struck was owned by a top aide to Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is now the interior minister in the Taliban government in Kabul.

The Haqqani network is an Islamist terror outfit founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, who emerged as a top Afghan warlord and insurgent commander during the anti-Soviet war.

Al-Zawahiri, 71, was the No. 2 in Al-Qaeda when the group conducted the 9/11 terror attacks, and American officials considered him a central plotter. While he lacked the charismatic leadership of Osama bin Laden, he profoundly shaped Al-Qaeda and its terrorist movements with his writing and arguments. He took over as the leader of Al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden’s death in Pakistan in 2011.

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first published:August 02, 2022, 12:23 IST
last updated:August 02, 2022, 15:18 IST
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