Tue, 03 Oct 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], August 4 (ANI): Following the killing of one of the chief architects of 9/11 attacks, Ayman-Al-Zawahiri, several media reports have strongly indicated that Pakistan may have played a significant role in his elimination as well as of his predecessor, Osama Bin Laden as many similarities have been found in both the attacks which took eleven years apart.

As per the report by Islam Khabar, the US drone flew from a 'friendly' Middle-Eastern country, most probably the United Arab Emirates (UAE), using Pakistan's airspace, however, no confirmed news emerged as in Osama's case.

The reports are, however, denied by Washington and Islamabad, as was done in Osama's case.

The Pakistani military, and the Shehbaz Sharif Government alike, are currently trying to secure an urgently-needed International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan from the US.

The very fact that al-Zawahiri was found living comfortably in a Kabul "safe house", close to the Taliban leadership, shows that hard-core jihadist elements within the Taliban have no intention of breaking off ties with al-Qaeda. Also clear is Pakistan's continued role, despite its wavering vibes with the Afghan Taliban it helped return to power.

Some of the few differences in both the attacks were that Osama's hideout in Abbottabad were easily identified whereas the Americans have had few difficulties in locating Zawahiri's, in a posh Kabul suburb that was frequented by many foreigners, among them Americans, till only eleven months ago.

The reactions of both, Islamabad in 2011 and Kabul under Taliban rule now, are identical. The two leaderships righteously condemned 'violation' of their territorial sovereignty, but left it at that, Islam Khabar reported.

However, according to the evidence that emerged later, the US had acted in Abbottabad on a tacit understanding reached with Pakistan, particularly its Army Chief, General Ashfaq Kayani. In Kabul's case, it acted under a formal agreement reached at Doha in February 2020.

The Taliban may insist that they had undertaken not to attack US interests outside Afghanistan, and had never assured anything about any action within their territory. But they must now live without Zawahiri, killed under their very nose, and future 'threats' they may pose to the US.

Similarly to how Osama was moved to a safe house in Abbottabad by Pakistan, the Taliban also, on seizing Kabul last year, moved Zawahiri, with his wife, daughter and granddaughters, from the tribal area to the safety of Kabul's Sherpur, in the neighbourhood of several Taliban leaders and the Kabul elite, including foreigners.

The two American operations differ on the damage they caused, however, as the one in Kabul took only Zawahiri and no other family members. Even the building was left intact and the Sherpur neighbourhood had to bear only the deafening sound of Kinetic Hellfire R9X. No warhead explosives, just blades that swing out to kill only one guy. Without involving the US Navy in 2011, the CIA achieved the mission.

The killing of Zawahiri is bound to cause a temporary setback in the US-Afghan ties and in their talks for a measure of reconciliation while the Taliban have been keen to recover USD nine billion lying in the US banks that the US has been unwilling or delaying.

This is a moment of triumph for Biden, just as killing Osama was for then-President Obama.

The US seems all set to resume its role that is bound to impact South, West and Central Asia. As Blinken put it: "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," reported Islam Khabar. (ANI)

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