Al Qaeda: Silence reigns around the house in Kabul where Al Zawahiri died: “Get out of here and stop investigating” | International
Could the leader of Al Qaeda, one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, live in the heart of Kabul without the approval of his allies in the Taliban Emirate? The question floats rhetorically early Tuesday morning in Kabul. The tension is chewing around the building in Sherpur, a wealthy neighborhood of the Afghan capital, in which the United States claims to have killed Ayman Al Zawahiri with a drone on Sunday, successor in 2011 of Osama Bin Laden at the head of Al Qaeda. Armed men in military uniform threaten reporters hanging around the Ghazanfer bank headquarters, near the scene. But there is no great security deployment. “Get out of here and stop investigating!”, Demands minutes later on a nearby road a man dressed in civilian clothes with a walkie talkie, while trying to clear the metal gate that gives access to the plot on which the attacked house supposedly stands.
This is not just any Monday in Kabul. The death of the terrorist is on the lips of many, but hardly anyone dares to speak in front of a reporter. And less foreign. Early in the morning, before the shops opened and the traffic intensified, a group of men milled with some journalists in front of a complex of houses surrounded by a wall. It is the point bombed on Sunday, that place where, according to local media, no one lived. It is one of the few things that a young man named Noor Ahmad, originally from Kandahar province, but who now works in Kabul, comments on. Other men, like him, go in and out of the room, but remain silent. Moments later, the man walkie talkie He arrives and puts an end to the huddle.
The authorities of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as the Taliban call the country, have condemned the attack, but without citing victims —the alleged death of Al Zawahiri is not mentioned— or specific targets. Of course, the bombing, carried out with a drone, according to Washington, is a “flagrant violation of international principles and the Doha agreement,” says the Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, in a statement made public on Monday night. to Tuesday through his Twitter social network account. And he insists on that same text: Sunday’s action confirms the “repetition of the failed experience of the last 20 years”, referring to the presence in Afghanistan of international troops led by the United States from 2001 to 2021.
The agreement to which Mujahid refers, signed in January 2020 in the capital of Qatar between the Administration presided over by US President Donald Trump and the Taliban, includes, among other points, that Afghanistan is not going to be a base for terrorists who threaten the United States. Joined. Washington implies for its part that it is the Taliban who are breaking that agreement by giving shelter to Al Zawahiri.
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That signing in Doha was supposed to open the path to peace with the end of the presence of two decades of international troops in Afghanistan, a country that continues to be mired in violence and underdevelopment. But everything came to a head a year ago, when faced with the passivity of the local troops and in full disarray of the United States Army, the Taliban began to gain power. Like dominoes, the 34 Afghan provinces fell without much fighting and on Sunday, August 15, 2021, the bearded rebels and kalashnikov They took Kabul and established the current Emirate.
Several Afghan media outlets had reported on Sunday of explosions in the Sherpur neighborhood. Also from the ambulance movement. Images of black smoke circulated over the sky of the capital. It was, they said, a building that was empty. Nothing extraordinary in a city of some four million inhabitants accustomed to violence of all kinds since more than four decades ago the country went to war with the Russian invasion. But no one imagined that the target was, nothing more and nothing less, than the head of Al Qaeda, the successor of Osama Bin Laden, whom the United States killed in May 2011 in Pakistan. Al Zawahiri, an Egyptian accused of masterminding the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, was one of the world’s most wanted terrorists. A reward of 25 million dollars weighed on his head.
Afghanistan continues to bear the heavy burden of support that the Taliban offered to Osama Bin Laden, leader of Al Qaeda and the main target of the 9/11 attacks. Washington remembers him without a hint of forgetfulness with the death of Al Zawahiri. His troops no longer set foot in Afghanistan but, one way or another, they are still in the country. This close surveillance does not prevent that, at the same time, with his departure a year ago, they left the country almost isolated internationally, still anchored in war and poverty and under a ferocious dictatorship.
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