Watch Live: Biden speaks after al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri killed in airstrike


President Biden is speaking Monday on what the counterterrorism operation that killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri. Three sources confirmed to CBS News that al-Zawahiri was killed in a U.S. counterterrorism strike in Afghanistan over the weekend.

Two intelligence sources familiar with the matter said the strike was carried out by the CIA. 

A senior administration official said there were no civilian casualties. 

The president’s remarks are slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET. Mr. Biden, who is experiencing a rebound case of COVID-19, will be delivering his remarks at a distance from the press at the White House. 

The strike comes nearly one year after U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Monday confirmed an airstrike conducted by a drone in Kabul. He said the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan views that as a clear violation of international principles.

The Taliban said the strike took place in a residential neighborhood in Kabul. 

Al-Zawahiri has long been a wanted man. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, then-President George W. Bush released a list of the FBI’s 22 most wanted terrorists, with al-Zawahiri near the top of the list along with Osama bin Laden. 

For years, al-Zawahiri was known as al Qaeda’s No. 2, but many analysts believe he was really the brains behind bin Laden’s operation.     

Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, left, sits with his adviser Ayman al-Zawahiri, during an interview with a Pakistani journalist at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan for an article published Nov. 10, 2001.

Getty Images


Bin Laden was killed by U.S. special forces in 2011, but al-Zawahiri eluded attempts on his life and an international manhunt until his death. With al-Zawahiri’s death, all of top plotters of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are either dead or captured.

Zawahiri continued to release video statements, including one on Sept. 11, 2021, although it was unclear if that recording was new or old. It was rumored for years that he had died, and the U.S. offered $25 million for information that could lead to his apprehension.

 — CBS News’ Arden Farhi, Nancy Cordes, Andres Triay, Ahmad Muktar, Pat Milton and Olivia Gazis contributed to this report.



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