The United States killed Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike over the weekend, several current and former U.S. officials told The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Al-Zawahiri, 71, was in a house in Kabul, Afghanistan, officials told the Times. They added that the strike was not conducted by the U.S. military and there were no civilian casualties. One U.S. analyst told the Times the home belonged to an aide of a senior Taliban government official.
The Taliban issued a statement on Monday condemning the drone strike, which it said took place in the affluent Sherpur area of Kabul. Al Qaeda found refuge in Afghanistan during the 1990s, amid the Taliban's first time in power. When the Taliban recaptured the government last August, its leaders claimed it would not let Al Qaeda and other terror organizations have safe haven there, but al-Zawahiri's "return to Kabul with the Taliban takeover raises questions about the group's commitment to keeping Al Qaeda out of the country," the Times writes.
A surgeon by training, al-Zawahiri was part of Al Qaeda's top leadership during the planning and execution of the September 11 attacks. Both al-Zawahiri and Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden escaped Afghanistan after the attacks, and when bin Laden was killed in 2011 during a U.S. raid in Pakistan, al-Zawahiri was promoted to leader of the terror group.