Zawahiri killed, Taliban puts Afghanistan at risk again: Expert

Besides being involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US, he was also held responsible for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Zawahiri killed, Taliban puts Afghanistan at risk again: Expert
Al-Zawahiri, 71, was the No. 2 in al-Qaeda when the group conducted the September 11 terror attacks, and American officials considered him a central plotter. (File photo: Reuters)

The 71-year old Egyptian doctor, Ayman al Zawahiri, the current fountainhead of al-Qaeda, has been killed. The man known to stir passions among Muslims across the globe discussing sensitive issues on topics related to the Middle East and the US and Israeli actions against Palestinians, lacked the dynamism of Osama bin Laden.

He had a bounty of US$25 million placed by the FBI. Besides being involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US, he was also held responsible for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

He was the brain behind transnational Jihadi network and used social media platforms and provocative message to stir the feelings of the Muslim population.

More about global terrorist
Born in a middle-class family of physicians and intellectuals in Egypt, he was the grand imam of Al Azhar, one of the most significant mosques in Islam and considered to be the epicentre of Sunni Islamic study in the Middle East.

Following his meeting with Laden in 1986, he joined as a personal advisor and physician to Osama. And in short period of three years, he turned into one of the world’s most wanted terrorists.

In 1993, he assumed control of Islamic Jihad in Egypt and came into prominence after he attempted to topple the government in that country to establish Islamic state. According to reports he was involved in the killing of almost 1200 Egyptians.

In 1998 he combined al-Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. In 2001, both Laden and Zawahiri managed to escape the US forces in Afghanistan. He was also involved in the suicide bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in May 2003. Almost 23 people including Americans were killed.

Over the years the US forces have managed to kill several of his deputies which weakened his ability to carry out terror acts across the globe.

Man behind Arab Spring

He was also the man behind the Arab Spring through certain affiliated groups that had caused violence and destabilised countries across the globe –from the Middle East, Africa to Asia.

Point of View of Strategic Expert
“He met the fate of a co-traveller of militant Islam in a drone attack on his hideout in Kabul almost eleven years after Osama bin Laden was hunted down by US Special Forces, hiding in an ISI safe house close to Abotabad, a sleepy military town of Pakistan,” says Indian Army Veteran, Maj Gen Nalin Bhatia.

According to him, “Zawahiri was heading the al-Qaeda and was responsible for a number of attacks on US interests in the region of African Horn during 2000-2001 when a series of attacks on US embassies and naval ships shook the USA. As per US estimate it led to killings of almost 3000 individuals.”

“The hunting down of Ayman al Zawahiri in a house in Kabul reflects US commitment and resolve to continue tracking all the perpetrators of violence against its interests even two decades after the acts of violence were committed,” observes strategic expert Maj Gen Nalin Bhatia.

In his opinion, “Killing of Zawahiri clearly shows that the current Taliban dispensation in Afghanistan has gone back to its old ways and is actively providing support to al Qaeda, something it had committed to shun at the time of signing the Peace Agreement with the US at Doha.”

The fact that the USA hunted down Zawahiri in Kabul one year after leaving Afghanistan shows its single-minded commitment.

Fight against Terrorism

According to Maj Gen Nalin Bhatia, “The US success in eliminating the top leadership of al Qaeda to a certain may have to an extent subdued the activities of the outfit but it has in no way deterred it from joining hands with Taliban, now in control of Afghanistan to pursue the goal of Islamic Jihad. Any amount of denial of providing sanctuaries to global terrorists by current Afghan regime is unlikely to cut any ice with international community and make it difficult for Afghanistan to attract international aid.”

What about Central Asia?

“From the regional perspective, especially Central and South Asia, it will pose new challenges now that links of the Taliban led Afghan government clearly stand established,” he adds.

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