Taliban has grossly violated the Doha Agreement by hosting and sheltering Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, the US secretary of state Antony Blinken said on Monday (local time).
Zawahiri was killed in an air strike by the United States on Saturday, President Joe Biden said. “By hosting and sheltering the leader of al Qa’ida in Kabul, the Taliban grossly violated the Doha Agreement and repeated assurances to the world that they would not allow Afghan territory to be used by terrorists to threaten the security of other countries,” Blinken said in a statement.
The US and the Taliban signed the peace agreement in February 2020 under the Presidency of former US President Donald Trump. The deal stated the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghan soil and the Taliban would abate violence and guarantee that its soil will not be a safe haven for the terrorists.
In a statement, Blinken said that the Taliban also betrayed the Afghan people and their own stated desire for recognition from and normalization with the international community.
“In the face of the Taliban’s unwillingness or inability to abide by their commitments, we will continue to support the Afghan people with robust humanitarian assistance and to advocate for the protection of their human rights, especially of women and girls,” Bliken said in a statement.
al-Zawahiri was one of the world’s most wanted terrorists and a mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks, was killed in a drone strike carried out by the US in Kabul.
Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon was deeply involved in the planning of 9/11 and he also acted as Osama Bin Ladens personal physician.
Al-Qaeda, who had just turned 71, took over the leadership of Al-Qaeda after the US Forces hunted down Osama bin Laden in Jalalabad of Pakistan. 11 years after Laden was killed, Zawahiri had become an international symbol of the group, and a global terrorist with a reward of USD 25 million on his head.
The culmination of Zawahiri’s terror plotting came on September 11, 2001, when nearly 3,000 people were killed in the attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center and Pentagon. A fourth hijacked airliner, headed for Washington, crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers fought back.
His whereabouts were a mystery for several years, but he was believed to be hiding along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In January 2006, the US had earlier tried to kill Zawahiri in a missile strike near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. The attack killed four al-Qaeda members, but Zawahiri survived and appeared on video two weeks later, warning US President George W Bush that neither he nor “all the powers on earth” could bring his death “one second closer”.
Zawahiri’s targeted killing comes a year after the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
The US President said that justice has been delivered, adding, “No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the US will find you and take you out.”