Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 18 August 2022 7.36 AM IST

Pakistan betrayed Zawahiri? All evidence points towards Pak, one goal behind killing


KABUL: Rumours that Pakistan had aided the US for killing Al-Qaeda leader Ayaman al-Zawahiri are rife across the world. Soon after the news about Zawahiri’s killing surfaced, many suspected Pakistan’s involvement in the attack. As soon as Taliban clarified that the US killed Zawahiri without their knowledge, all eyes pointed towards Pakistan.

Lately, the US has kept its distance from Pakistan, resulting in huge crises for the country. Pakistan, which is economically devastated, needs International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans to survive. For the IMF to take a stance in favour of Pakistan, US support is necessary and Pakistan knows it. That is why, Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa sought US’ help during the talks with IMF a few days ago. These two incidents have strengthened the arguments of Pak involvement in Zawahiri’s killing. However, the Pakistan government has denied the allegations.

Zawahiri, who had been living in Pakistan, arrived in Afghanistan after Taliban came to power. While protecting Zawahiri at all cost in the country, Pakistan was very careful not to leak any information to the US. The same Pakistan has now leaked Zawahiri’s whereabouts to the US for survival. Former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by US missiles, while he was absconding in Pakistan. Even Pakistan came to know about the incident only after America released the news. At the time, Pakistan had expressed severe protest over the incident.

Taliban's foreign minister Mullah Yaqoob is also among those suspected of leaking Zawahiri's information. Yaqoob was at loggerheads with the Haqqani network that had sheltered Zawahiri in Kabul.

Meantime, the Taliban has begun investigation into Zawahiri’s killing. The Taliban has not yet confirmed whether Zawahiri was killed or not. “The government and the leadership were not aware of what was being claimed, nor any trace there. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is committed to the Doha Agreement. The investigation is underway to find out about the veracity of the claim. The leadership is in constant meeting in this regard. The findings will be shared with all”, said the Taliban government in its statement.

Zawahiri was killed by a US Hellfire R9X missile, which pierced his body at around 6:18 am on July 31, while he was staying at a house owned by a close follower of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Taliban's home minister and head of the Haqqani network. According to reports, the leader’s body was removed by his followers. In the attack, the house was not damaged. No other casualty was also reported.

Meantime, the US has asked its citizens to remain alert following Zawahiri’s killing. According to the US warning, there could be attacks against US citizens, who are abroad. The terrorists may adopt any means, from bomb blasts to kidnappings, stated the alert issued by the state department.

The US has also asked its citizens, who undergo foreign trips, to remain in contact with the US embassy or the consulate. The warning was issued in the wake of the intelligence report that the terrorists may take revenge after the killing of Zawahiri.

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