Taliban claim they didn’t know al-Qaeda chief al-Zawahiri was in Afghanistan before US drone strike

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On Thursday, the Taliban said they were not aware that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was in Kabul four days after his arrest. killed in US drone strike in the capital of Afghanistan.

Seeking to refute brief comments released by the Taliban on Tuesday after President Biden announces drone strike On Sunday, the Taliban said they had ordered “investigative and intelligence agencies to conduct serious and comprehensive investigations into various aspects of the mentioned event.”

The Taliban, who overthrew Afghanistan almost a year ago, initially condemned the strike and said it was “a clear violation of … the Doha agreement.”

Afghan Taliban representative Suhail Shaheen during a joint press conference in Moscow, Russia.

Afghan Taliban representative Suhail Shaheen during a joint press conference in Moscow, Russia.
(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlyanichenko, Poland)

AFTER MONTHS OF SUPERVISION, THE CIA STEPED ON AL-ZAWARI ONE ON HIS BALCONY, BUILDING HIS “LIFE PATTERN”

However, under the 2020 Doha Agreement signed by the US and the rebel group, the Taliban have pledged not to provide safe haven to members of al-Qaeda or anyone attempting to attack the US.

It turned out that al-Zawahiri lived in a safe house in Kabul, which was associated with the deputy leader of the Taliban.

The al-Qaeda leader stayed for several months at the home of an aide to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Taliban’s first deputy supreme leader, Mullah Haibatallah Akhundzada, US officials said.

Al-Zawahiri was killed in a US drone strike after stepping onto a balcony.

Recently assassinated al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri speaks on the 11th anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death.

Recently assassinated al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri speaks on the 11th anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death.
(AP Photo/Mazhar Ali Khan, file)

JOHN KIRBY EXPLODED FOR ISSUE WITH ALLEGATION THAT BIDEN ADMIN HANDED AFGHANISTAN TO ‘TERRORISM GROUP’

In a statement Thursday, the Taliban said they had “no knowledge of the arrival and residence” of al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan.

The statement was released after Taliban leaders reportedly held a high-level meeting on Wednesday, although the details of the meeting remain unclear.

Al-Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul and the subsequent assassination of an al-Qaeda leader further strained relations between Washington and Kabul. Taliban leaders seek international funding to help Afghanistan’s failing economy.

Osama bin Laden (left) and al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Osama bin Laden (left) and al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
(Hamid Mir/Editor/Ausaf Daily Dawn/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo)

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The US and Taliban were also reportedly in recent talks over $3.5 billion in Afghan assets that the US froze following the collapse of Ashraf Ghani’s presidency in August 2021.

The Taliban also tried to reassure Washington in a statement Thursday, saying that “there is no danger to any country, including America, from the territory of Afghanistan.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.