The drone strike that took out al-Qaida leader and 9/11 planner Ayman al-Zawahri sent a clear message that U.S. counterterrorism efforts are still in play in Afghanistan, despite last year’s messy military withdrawal from the region. It scored an intelligence victory against a terrorist organization that has often been difficult to infiltrate. President Biden called the death of al-Zawahri justice and a “measure of closure” for families of the World Trade Center attacks. Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan believes with this operation, the U.S. has put its enemies on notice: Watch your back.
Excerpted from Peter’s Aug. 2 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:
The United States announced August 1 that it had killed the ideological head of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a drone strike, over the previous weekend. Reportedly battling a long-time illness, al-Zawahiri’s actual level of control over al-Qaida (and its regional affiliates) is debatable. His role in the September 11 attacks against the United States in 2001 and in inspiring campaigns of militancy that killed thousands is decidedly less so. I do take note of al-Zawahiri’s presence in a home inside Kabul. The US–primarily its intelligence agencies–still maintain considerable capabilities in a country with no formal military presence. And they are more than happy to remind any number of bad actors of the fact.