Taliban claim they didn’t know al-Qaeda chief lives in Kabul

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has no information about the arrival and stay of Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul,” the Taliban said in a statement on Thursday.

“The leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has instructed the investigative and special services to conduct a comprehensive and serious investigation into various aspects of the incident,” the Taliban added.

This was announced on Monday by US President Joe Biden. that Zawahiri was killed early Sunday morning in an American drone strike on his home in Kabul.

A senior US administration official said senior Taliban figures in the Haqqani network were aware of the presence of the al-Qaeda chief in the area and even took steps to cover up his presence after the strike, restricting access to the hideout and quickly relocating his family members. including his daughter and her children.

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The house where al-Zawahiri hid is in the Sherpur district of the Green Zone, where most of the officials from the previous Afghan government used to live.

The Sherpur area was once home to an old military base, but during the years of civil conflict and Taliban rule in the 1990s, it was hardly used.

In 2003, the Afghan Ministry of Defense abandoned it, and the government divided it into more than 50 sites, giving them to powerful people, including government ministers and other high-ranking officials, as well as warlords and drug lords. Their houses were soon nicknamed “poppy palaces”.

Since the fall of Ashraf Ghani’s government in August 2021, most Sherpur house owners have fled the country and their homes have been confiscated by the Taliban.