The pictures show a house in Kabul in which the al-Qaeda leader was killed by an American strike



CNN

CNN has identified the house in Kabul, Afghanistan – the so-called “Poppy Palace” surrounded by the homes of drug dealers and war-mongers – that was hit by a Hellfire drone missile strike that killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in the early hours of the day. Sunday morning.

The identification was made through geolocation and validation of three images that have been circulating on social media since Sunday, as well as the use of high-resolution archival satellite imagery.

US President Joe Biden said in a speech on Monday evening that al-Zawahiri was on the balcony when the attack occurred. CNN reached out to the National Security Council for comment on the home’s identification, but did not immediately receive a response.

The house, located in the Sherpur district of the Afghan capital, is surrounded by several houses and buildings to the north, south and west. Directly to the east of the house is Omid High School.

Less than 1,000 feet to the southeast of the house is the UK Embassy in Kabul. According to the British Foreign Office, all diplomatic and consular staff are being “temporarily withdrawn” from the country.

This photo appears to show the effects of the blow.

A resident who lives near the area, who heard a loud explosion on Sunday after 6 a.m., told CNN that Taliban fighters continue to spread in the area. The person asked not to be identified, fearing for his life.

The resident said that the strike “shaken” his house.

Sherpur district of Kabul was an old military base, but during the years of civil conflict and Taliban rule in the 1990s, it was almost left unused. In 2003, the Afghan Ministry of Defense abandoned it and the government divided it into more than 50 plots, giving it to influential people including government ministers and other high-ranking officials, as well as warlords and drug lords. Their homes soon earned the nickname “Poppy Palaces”.

After the fall of Ashraf Ghani’s government in August 2021, the majority of Sherpur’s homeowners fled the country and the Taliban confiscated their homes.

It is not clear who owned the house in which al-Zawahiri was killed, or if it was one of those confiscated homes.

On Tuesday, a green cloth was seen covering the balcony area, where the missile strike appears to have taken place.

A BBC television news team, who was filming the house, said the Taliban had asked him to leave the area after they videotaped the house and area for their report.

A nearby resident told CNN that the Taliban continued to block streets leading to the site.

A journalist told CNN that journalists who tried to access the site throughout Tuesday were blocked from main and bypass roads.

The journalist said that civilians on bicycles, motorbikes and cars were all denied entry.

BBC footage showing the home of Ayman al-Zawahiri's family, where the missile strike took place.

The house is located in an area called the Green Zone, where most of the former Afghan officials used to live. Last year, the home of Afghanistan’s acting defense minister, Bismillah Mohammadi, was attacked by a Taliban car bomb.

Biden said Zawahiri was sheltering in downtown Kabul for his family reunion, and was killed in what a senior administration official described as a “precisely designed air strike” using two Hellfire missiles.

The strike, which occurred at 9:48 p.m. ET on Saturday and in the early hours of Sunday morning in Kabul, was authorized by Biden after weeks of meetings with his government and key advisers.

It eliminated the 71-year-old al-Qaeda leader who at one point served as Osama bin Laden’s personal physician, who rose to the top of the terrorist organization after US forces killed bin Laden in 2011.

Jihadi-monitoring group Site Intelligence said “some segments of the jihadist community” hold the Taliban responsible for the al-Qaeda leader’s death, believing its officials disclosed his location to US intelligence.

CNN has reached out to the Taliban for comment.

Before ordering the killing of the terrorist leader, Biden wanted to get a closer understanding of the area he was hiding in. Among the preparations was a small model of al-Zawahiri’s safe house, constructed by intelligence officials and placed inside the Situation Room of Biden’s White House for examination while his options were discussed.

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