Former President Obama on Monday said the killing of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri demonstrates that the United States can fight terrorism without being at war with Afghanistan.
Obama, in a tweet, praised the drone strike that killed al-Zawahiri over the weekend, saying that he hopes the strike provides a “small measure of peace” to the families of those affected by the 9/11 attacks and anyone else who suffered as a result of al-Qaeda.
Al-Zawahiri became the head of the terrorist organization responsible for 9/11 after Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in a 2011 raid in Pakistan, a strike that was ordered by Obama during his presidency.
Al-Zawahiri had previously served as bin Laden’s deputy and was a key planner in the 9/11 attacks.
The drone strike comes almost a year after the U.S. completed its evacuation from Afghanistan following 20 years of fighting in the country. The U.S. originally entered Afghanistan in 2001 following 9/11 in an attempt to target and remove the Taliban, which was providing protection to al-Qaeda, from power.
Obama said the death of al-Zawahiri is a tribute to President Biden’s leadership, members of the intelligence community who have been working toward this and counterterrorism professionals who were able to execute the strike without a civilian casualty.
Biden was serving as vice president during the raid that killed bin Laden.
A senior administration official told reporters that al-Zawahiri was standing on the balcony of a safe house in Kabul when the strike occurred. He is suspected of being involved in a range of other terrorist attacks, including the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981, U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and an attack on the U.S. naval ship USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.