The US Central Intelligence Agency spent weeks planning the operation to kill the leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, in Afghanistan without causing any casualties.
The precision of the operation is translated by the moment of execution, when two Hellfire missiles targeted the balcony of the house where Al-Zawahiri stayed in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Information indicates that the two missiles killed al-Zawahiri on Saturday without first destroying the house, indicating the level of accuracy in targeting, which takes into account the lack of exposure to civilians and endangering their lives.
The Hellfire is an air-to-ground, laser-guided, subsonic missile with significant anti-tank capability. It can also be used as an air-to-air weapon against helicopters or slow-moving fixed-wing aircraft.
Hellfire can be used as an air-to-air or air-to-surface missile. Air-to-Ground (AGM)-114 provides precision strike power against tanks, structures, bunkers and helicopters.
The Hellfire missile is capable of defeating any known tank in the world today. It can be directed at the target either from inside the aircraft or by laser outside the aircraft.
An analyst told the New York Times that images of the attack posted on social media suggest a Hellfire missile strike armed with long blades meant to kill kinetic energy targets to minimize significant collateral damage.
But the other surprise revealed by a White House official is that al-Zawahiri was present in the capital, Kabul, with the knowledge of the Haqqani network and Taliban leaders.
The White House official stressed that targeting al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan is not a violation of international law.
The US official indicated that Biden wants to know the impact of this operation on the chances of Afghanistan joining the counter-terrorism operation in the future.
Al-Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul suggests that the Taliban has broken its commitments to refrain from allowing terrorist groups that threaten US national security to use Afghan soil for their movements.
A senior US official said on Monday that al-Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul was a “clear violation” of the 2020 agreement the Taliban signed with Washington in which they pledged not to allow Afghanistan to become a haven for “international jihad” does not become.
With Biden announcing the killing of Al-Zawahiri in a drone strike in the Afghan capital on Saturday, the senior US administration official said: “We expect them to abide by the terms of the Doha agreement. Al-Zawahiri’s presence in the middle of Kabul was a clear violation of that.”
Activists on social media circulated photos of the home targeted by the US raid that killed al-Zawahiri in Kabul.
#WASHINGTON 1 Aug #Reuters
All #Qaeda leader Ayman al #Zawahiri was killed in a #CIA drone attack carried out in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday#USA officials told Reuters on Monday
The biggest blow to the militant group since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 pic.twitter.com/WbFq6LsQNr
— Ibrahim Muhammad (@IbrahimDSY1) August 1, 2022
The US president, Joe Biden, emphasized in his speech that this mission was carefully prepared to avoid civilian casualties.
He stressed that Washington “will never allow Afghanistan to be a safe haven for terrorism.”
Biden said that Al-Zawahiri was killed in a drone strike “without the presence of US forces on the ground,” adding that the operation was “prepared and executed with high precision.”
He added: “I gave permission to kill Al-Zawahiri after our intelligence managed to track him down, when he moved to the center of Kabul (the Afghan capital) to meet with members of his family .”
Biden on the killing of Al-Zawahiri: I declared a precise attack that will drive him from the battlefield once and for all
US President Joe Biden on Monday announced the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a US raid carried out in Afghanistan, saying it was “carefully planned to avoid civilian casualties.”
He emphasized that “after carefully reviewing the information, I declared the exact strike that would take him off the battlefield once and for all.”
“None of his family members or any other civilians were injured by the strike,” he added.
He explained: “Whoever threatens the Americans, no matter how long it takes, and no matter where he hides, the United States will find him and get rid of him.”
The US president emphasized that Washington “will not allow Afghanistan to become a platform to launch attacks against the United States.”
He added: “We did not seek this war against the terrorists, but they came to us.”
Al-Zawahiri assumed the leadership of Al-Qaeda in 2011 after the killing of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 2001 attacks in the United States, which killed three thousand civilians.