KABUL, Afghanistan – John Kirby, the NSC coordinator for strategic communications at the White House, said at a press conference Wednesday that Afghanistan is not a safe-haven for Al-Qaeda members, addressing the recent drone strike that killed the group’s leader Ayman al-Zawahri in Kabul.
Earlier this week, President Biden announced an American drone strike killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri at an urban safe house in Afghanistan – a key plotter of the 9/11 terrorist attacks who took over as the leader of Al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden’s death.
“I think if you were to ask some members of al Qaeda — ask them how safe they feel in Afghanistan right now, I think we proved to a fare-thee-well this weekend that it isn’t a safe haven and it isn’t going to be, going forward,” he said, as TOLOnews quoted.
While the drone strike affected relationship between Washington and Kabul, the United States government – including international community – said the Taliban has broken Doha agreement, providing sanctuary to the well-known terrorist leader.
Tomas Niklasson, Special Envoy of the European Union for Afghanistan, wrote in a tweet Wednesday that the Islamic Emirate “repeated their commitment that Afghanistan would not become a safe haven for terrorists” during the Tashkent conference.
“The killing of Mr Al-Zawahiri by the US in central Kabul reinforces previous doubts about such claims,” he questioned. “Were the Taliban unaware, unable or unwilling to take action against the AQ leader?”
Talking to NPR, US former special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said that allowing the head of al-Qaida in Kabul, Afghanistan was a gross violation of that agreement.
“Allowing someone to plot and plan, attack – someone who plotted and planned the 9/11 attack … carried out other attacks on the United States–to stay in Kabul and issue a statement threatening the security of the United States, is clear beyond any doubt a violation of the Doha agreement,” said Khalilzad, as local media quoted.
The US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said, “the United States will not rest, will not allow for safe haven, will not allow anyone to use Afghanistan as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against the United States or against the American interest anywhere.”
Meanwhile, the Gulf state of Qatar in a statement called for the preservations of gains of the Doha agreement, one of which is to not use Afghanistan soil as a thread against any country, including America.
“The state of Qatar is following the developments in Afghanistan and calls on all parties to maintain the gains of the Doha agreement and adhere to it, including that Afghanistan should not be a haven for terrorist and extremist individuals and organizations,” the Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement, as local media quoted.
- Hanafi Calls U.S. Drone Strike Violation of Doha Agreement
- Islamic Emirate Proved Afghan Soil Not a Threat: Interior Minister
Earlier, Abdul Salam Hanafi, the second Deputy Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate, said the United States drone strike in Kabul violates both national sovereignty and the Doha Agreement, according to sources.
“These issues are still unclear to us, the only thing we know for sure is that a drone attack has taken place, which is against international law and the Doha Agreement,” Hanafi said, as TOLOnews quoted.
“The Islamic Emirate’s policy, which has been repeatedly stated to the people, is that our soil is not used against our neighbors,” Hanafi said.
On Monday, president Biden announced an American drone strike killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri at an urban safe house in Afghanistan – a key plotter of the 9/11 terrorist attacks who took over as the leader of Al Qaeda after Osama bin Laden’s death.
“Now justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said in a seven-minute nationally televised address from the White House, as the New York Times quoted.
“We make it clear again tonight,” he added, “that 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.”
The Islamic Emirate spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid in a statement confirmed that a strike took place and strongly condemned it, calling it a violation of “international principles.”