Leader of Al Qaeda Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed on Sunday morning in an American operation in Afghanistan.
According to a report by Reuters, a senior administration official said that Zawahiri had been hiding for years and that the operation to find and kill him was the result of “careful patient and persistent” work by the counter-terrorism and intelligence community.
Zawahiri had reportedly been living in Afghanistan or Pakistan’s tribal region up until the US revelation.
According to Reuters, an officer who spoke under the condition of anonymity gave the following information about the operation.
The US government had been aware of a network that it believed supported Zawahiri for a number of years, and over the previous year, following the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, officials had been on the lookout for signs of Al Qaeda’s presence in the country.
This year, authorities discovered that Zawahiri’s family, his wife, his daughter, and her kids had moved to a safe home in Kabul, and they later found Zawahiri there as well.
After several months, intelligence officials became more certain that they had accurately identified Zawahiri inside the Kabul safe house. As a result, they began briefing senior government officials in early April. President Joe Biden was subsequently briefed by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
The official stated, “We were able to build a pattern of life through multiple independent sources of information to inform the operation.”
The official claimed that after Zawahiri entered the Kabul safe house, authorities were unaware of his departure and repeatedly recognized him on the balcony, where he was ultimately struck.
He further said that In order to ensure that the United States could confidently carry out an operation to kill Zawahiri without endangering the structural integrity of the building and minimizing the risk to bystanders and Zawahiri’s family, officials looked into the safe house’s construction.
The official said that the president met with his key cabinet members and advisors on July 25 to receive a final briefing and go through many topics, including how killing Zawahiri would influence the United States’s relationship with the Taliban.
Biden sought input from others in the room before approving “a precise tailored air strike” with the proviso that the risk of civilian casualties be kept to a minimum.
A drone shooting ‘hellfire’ missiles ultimately carried out the strike on July 30 at 9:48 p.m. ET (0148 GMT).
The original report appeared here