Al-Qaida Leader’s Elimination By the Us Forces is a Welcome Development!

  • The entire global community was left shellshocked by the disturbing images of two hijacked airplanes striking the iconic twin towers of World Trade Center in New York City, and Pentagon, in Washington D.C., respectively on 11th September 2001 would be an understatement. The global outlook towards terrorism and its perpetrators got altered completely following these attacks is stating the obvious.  The United States of America was woken up from its slumber by the daring attacks carried out by the al-Qaida headed by the now deceased terrorist Osama bin Laden resulting in a slew of anti-terrorism measures.

PC: Donna Kiritharan

  • We all know how Osama was eliminated by the US forces in 2011 when the dreaded perpetrator was found taking shelter in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Since then, lots of strategic changes have happened on the ground vis-à-vis how the countries go about handling terrorism-related occurrences.  Needless to mention, the US is at the forefront of targeting fugitive terrorists spread out across the world and taking them out one after the other.  One such elimination was recently reported when al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was assassinated in a US drone strike in Afghanistan yet again demonstrating how the American war on terror endures.
  • Apparently, Zawahiri had moved to Kabul after the Taliban takeover last year. He was finally targeted by an American drone on the balcony of a building in the Afghan capital.  He was instrumental in the planning and execution of the 9/11 attacks alongside Osama bin Laden.  Further, he was also involved in other terror strikes on American targets around the world such as the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.  Thus, his elimination is good news.  However, note that al-Qaida has become a shell of its former self since Zawahiri took over the outfit following Osama bin Laden’s assassination.  Multiple factors are behind this.

PC: Calvin Woodward, Ellen Knickmeyer, and David Rising

  • The global Islamist terrorist movement has splintered with al-Qaida branches across the world practically operating independently. In fact, the Iraqi branch of al-Qaida morphed into the Islamic State terror group that went on to claim leadership of the Islamist movement.  Similarly, al-Qaida branches in Syria, north Africa, and the Indian subcontinent have achieved operational freedom too.  Significantly, it must be noted that Zawahiri was eliminated in Afghanistan raising serious questions about the Taliban’s ability to honour the 2020 Doha Agreement.  The latter paved the way for US withdrawal from Afghanistan on the condition that the Taliban guarantee Afghan soil will never be used to harbour al-Qaida and other terror groups.
  • Disturbingly, Zawahiri’s residence was in the heart of Kabul, and it shows the Taliban is either unwilling or unable to drop its dangerous friends. The turn of the event also means that India must remain on alert as Pakistan, with its influence over sections of the Taliban, could reactivate Afghanistan as an anti-India terror base.  India must coordinate closely with the US and other countries to counter the potential terror threats emanating from Afghanistan.  The security establishment should be fully prepared to thwart any terrorist challenges with an iron hand.