The United States conducted a rare counter terrorism operation over the weekend against a “significant” al-Qaida target in Afghanistan, a senior U.S. official said Monday. “The operation was successful and there were no civilian casualties,” the official said without giving further details.
Africhome sources said the strike killed top al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was deputy to the terror group’s founder, Osama bin Laden, when they orchestrated the September 2001 attacks against the U.S. out of their sanctuary in Afghanistan.
The confirmation came more than an hour after the Taliban rulers in Kabul said a missile attack on Sunday against a residential compound in the Afghan capital was the work of an American drone.
The Islamist insurgent group took control of Afghanistan on August 15 as the U.S.-led foreign troops withdrew and the Western-backed government in Kabul as well as its security forces collapsed in the face of the stunning nationwide Taliban assault.
The U.S.-led military coalition invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 and dislodged the then-Taliban government in Kabul to punish it for harboring the al-Qaida terror network. Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri escaped the international military action. U.S. special forces later located and killed bin Laden deep inside neighboring Pakistan in May of 2011.