Many questions arose due to the death of Zawahiri
The Taliban initially tried to portray the attack as a violation of the Doha Agreement on the part of the US. The agreement also states that the Taliban will not give asylum to anyone who intends to attack the US, which al-Zawahiri used to reveal through internet videos etc. The Taliban have not yet said who has been killed. Meanwhile, there are speculations that a tug of war is going on within the Taliban as well. Particularly the Haqqani network which may have harbored al-Zawahiri and among other Taliban factions.
A Pakistani intelligence official said, “The killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri has raised many questions. The Taliban knew about his presence in Kabul and if they were not aware of it, they should explain their position. Al-Zawahiri took over the leadership of the terrorist organization in 2011 after al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in an action by US Navy SEAL commands.
Zawahiri was hiding in Sirajuddin Haqqani’s house
According to the top US intelligence official, the house where al-Zawahiri was staying belongs to senior Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani. Taliban officials blocked Associated Press (AP) journalists in Kabul on Tuesday from access to the damaged home in which al-Zawahiri was killed. Monitors tracking terrorist groups informed the UN Security Council in July that al-Qaeda has gained more freedom under the Taliban regime, but their role has been limited to advising and supporting the country’s new rulers.
In their report, watchdogs said the two groups of al-Qaeda fighters, estimated to be between 180 and 400, represent distinctly different units of Taliban fighters. Significantly, in the first half of the year 2022, al-Zawahiri was active in reaching out to his supporters through video and audio messages. He assured them that al-Qaeda could compete with rival Islamic State to lead the global (terrorist) movement.
Alleged violation of commitments made to the international community
Haqqani Network was formed by Jalaluddin Haqqani, it is a terrorist organization. Jalaluddin Haqqani had emerged as a rebel commander of Afghanistan during the war against Soviet forces. Sirajuddin Haqqani has been working as the deputy leader of the Taliban since 2016. In August last year, he was made interior minister in the Taliban government. The US has announced a bounty of $10 million on his head.
Haqqani, however, disagrees with other Taliban leaders in eastern Afghanistan’s Khost province. Especially in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar. Some experts believe that Sirajuddin Haqqani wants more power. At the same time, Taliban leaders are protesting Haqqani’s violent action against civilian targets in Kabul and other places. The US Secretary of State has accused Afghanistan’s Taliban government of violating commitments made to the international community by “keeping and protecting the al Qaeda chief in Kabul”.
‘US violating the Doha Agreement’
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid accused the US of violating the Doha Agreement. A report in Afghanistan’s state-run television channel said US President Joe Biden said al-Zawahiri had been killed. Significantly, the 9/11 attacks on America were plotted together by al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden. Osama bin-Laden was killed by the US in 2011 in an operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Zawahiri became the leader of al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed in a US action.
US President Joe Biden announced on Monday that Zawahiri was killed in a Saturday evening drone strike by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Kabul. Zawahiri was hiding with his family in a house in Kabul.