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Zawahiri Strike Boosts Biden On Afghan Exit Anniversary; Concerns Persist

Zawahiri Strike Boosts Biden On Afghan Exit Anniversary; Concerns Persist


Zawahiri Strike Boosts Biden On Afghan Exit Anniversary; Concerns Persist

Critics on the best and left see final yr’s US withdrawal from Kabul as a present of ineptitude.(File)

Washington:

Weeks earlier than the primary anniversary of a retreat from Afghanistan that critics stated uncovered President Joe Biden’s weak spot, he shrugged off each Covid and detractors to announce the killing in Kabul of Al-Qaeda’s chief — an operation the Democrat says reveals the US stays as sturdy as ever.

“After I ended our army mission in Afghanistan virtually a yr in the past, I made the choice that after 20 years of struggle, the US now not wanted 1000’s of trainers on the bottom in Afghanistan,” Biden instructed the nation late Monday as he introduced the loss of life of Ayman al-Zawahiri.

“I made a promise to the American folks that we might proceed to conduct efficient counterterrorism operations… We have performed simply that.”

Asserting jihadist chief deaths has grow to be a ritual — each somber and extremely political — for presidents ever for the reason that assaults of September 11, 2001.

Barack Obama’s 2011 revelation of the daring operation to kill Osama bin Laden in his house in Pakistan electrified the nation. On listening to Obama, a talented orator, folks poured into the streets, chanting “USA!”

Donald Trump took a special method in 2019, utilizing gory language to ship information of a raid to kill Islamic State group chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in Syria — and to bolster his personal sturdy man picture.

“He died like a canine,” Trump stated.

For Biden, the setting was inauspicious. Isolating from a case of rebound Covid-19, battered within the polls and dealing with the anniversary this month of the traumatic August 2021 exit of US troops from Kabul, the Democrat is in a weak place.

In a nod to Covid air flow measures, his speech was delivered from the noisy balcony of the Blue Room. As he touted American resilience, Washington police sirens wailed within the background.

But the timing of the speech couldn’t have been higher for a president looking for to alter the narrative.

Whereas steering away from triumphalism, Biden famous that Zawahiri had been on the wished checklist “for years beneath presidents (George W.) Bush, Obama and Trump.”

The implication — that the nation is secure in Biden’s palms — was clear.

“Irrespective of how lengthy it takes, regardless of the place you conceal, in case you are a risk to our folks, the US will discover you and take you out,” Biden stated.

Afghan technique debate 

Critics on the best and left see final yr’s US withdrawal from Kabul as a present of ineptitude that, along with being a humiliating spectacle, will make Afghanistan a hotbed of anti-American Islamic teams, just like the time of 9/11.

Biden argues he had the braveness to tug the plug on a failed struggle performed by three earlier presidents and that there merely was by no means going to be a neat ending to the debacle.

Dismissing skeptics, he additionally promised that American “over the horizon” capabilities meant there’d be no extra must threat US lives on the bottom.

Now with the Zawahiri killing, Biden has a golden alternative to say that he is been proved proper.

Afghanistan “cannot be a launching pad in opposition to the US,” Biden stated in his speech. “This operation is a transparent demonstration that we’ll, we will, and we’ll all the time make good on the solemn pledge.”

Downsides 

There was immediate reward from even unlikely quarters, with the anchor on the usually hostile Fox Information’ night broadcast calling it “President Biden’s bin Laden second” and “an enormous, large win for the US.”

Some specialists, nevertheless, warning in opposition to the White Home spin.

James Jeffrey, a former US ambassador to Iraq and now chair of the Wilson Middle assume tank’s Center East Program, applauded the demonstration of “wonderful intelligence, an operational strike functionality and decisiveness.”

Nonetheless, that experience doesn’t outweigh the “chaos” of final yr’s Afghan withdrawal, which Jeffrey blamed on poor coordination and Biden’s “handicapping” of employees by his refusal to simply accept there could possibly be any downsides to pulling out — or to plan for them.

Nathan Gross sales, one other former diplomat who works on the Atlantic Council, stated Zawahiri’s mere presence in Kabul was a failure for the US, suggesting “as feared, the Taliban is as soon as extra granting secure haven to the leaders of Al-Qaeda.”

And it is too early to say whether or not one spectacular drone strike “will be replicated in opposition to different terrorist targets,” he stated.

“Till we all know extra, we must always resist the urge to see the strike as a vindication of ‘over the horizon’ counterterrorism.”

Biden, nevertheless, is up to now getting total good marks. Amongst these cheering Tuesday was Invoice McRaven, who as then-commander of US particular operations oversaw the bin Laden raid.

“What the US has proven is that we will in truth do over the horizon focusing on on sure excessive worth people,” he instructed CNN.

(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)



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