UW military professor considers drone strike of al-Qaida leader a success

President Joe Biden confirmed that a U.S. drone strike killed Al-Quaida leader Ayman Al-Zawahri over the weekend.
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 10:39 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - President Joe Biden confirmed that a U.S. drone strike killed al-Qaida leader Ayman Al-Zawahri over the weekend.

The president said he approved the operation last week and the drone strike was carried out on Sunday.

US intelligence officials tracked Al-Zawahri to a home in downtown Kabul, where he was hiding out with his family. The CIA carried out the strike, which was later confirmed by five people who spoke under the condition of anonymity.

Al-Zawahri served Osama Bin Laden as his deputy back in 1998 before becoming his successor. His death came 11 months after American troops pulled out of Afghanistan.

Retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and current U.S. Military History Professor John W. Hall says it was an important move not just because of the high priority target but to show the ability of the U.S. to gather intelligence and execute despite leaving the country.

“There were a lot of questions over whether or not the United States was actually going to have the ability to carry out counter-terrorism operations from over the horizon as they say,” said Hall. “This is the first glaring or telling, if you will, proof of principle that the United States is, in fact, capable of carrying out, identifying, finding and finishing a high-level target.”

Hall added one of the things lost with the withdrawal of troops was intelligence on the ground from people. He said that completing such a mission after losing assets makes it all the more impressive.

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