US President Joe Biden announced on Monday that al-Zawahiri, who took over the reins of al-Qaida, after the killing of Osama bin Laden 11 years ago, was killed in an American drone strike carried out Saturday evening (New York time) at a house in Kabul.
The 30th report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team submitted pursuant to resolution 2610 (2021) concerning ISIL (Da’esh), al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities, released last month had said that the terror group’s leadership reportedly plays an advisory role with the Taliban, and the groups remain close.
It said al-Zawahiri had increased outreach to al-Qaida supporters with a number of video and audio messages, “including his own statement promising that al-Qaida was equipped to compete with ISIL, in a bid to be recognised again as the leader of a global movement.”
The 13th report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team submitted pursuant to resolution 2611 (2021) concerning the Taliban and other associated individuals and entities constituting a threat to the peace stability and security of Afghanistan, released in May had noted that the core al-Qaida leadership under al-Zawahiri is reported to remain in Afghanistan, more specifically, the eastern region from Zabul Province north towards Kunar and along the border with Pakistan.
It said since August 2021, al-Zawahiri had appeared in eight videos.
Alluding to the hijab row in India, the report had said that in the most recent such video of al-Zawahiri, released on April 5, by al-Qaida’s As-Sahab Media Foundation, al-Zawahiri “references the defiance of an Indian Muslim female in front of men protesting the hijab, an event that went viral in early February 2022.”
“The video provided the first conclusive current proof of life for al-Zawahiri in recent years. The pace of recent communications suggests that he may be able to lead more effectively than was possible before the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan,” it said.
The ‘Twelfth report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team submitted pursuant to resolution 2557 (2020) concerning the Taliban and other associated individuals and entities constituting a threat to the peace, stability and security of Afghanistan’, released last year in June had said that “a significant part of the al-Qaida leadership resided in the Afghanistan and Pakistan border region, including the group’s leader al-Zawahiri, who is probably alive but too frail to be featured in propaganda.”
The report had said that the al-Qaida leader “is believed to be located somewhere in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Previous reports of his death due to ill health have not been confirmed. One Member State reports that he is probably alive but too frail to be featured in propaganda.”