Afghans shocked to learn al-Qaeda leader lived in Kabul

By Sulaiman

Shown is the balcony of the house in Kabul where al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a US drone strike. [Charles Lister/Twitter]

Shown is the balcony of the house in Kabul where al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a US drone strike. [Charles Lister/Twitter]

KABUL -- Afghans welcomed the US strike that targeted al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri at his hideout in Kabul, saying his death enhances Afghanistan's security and supports stability and peace in the country and world.

In a televised briefing on Monday (August 1), US President Joe Biden confirmed that al-Zawahiri had been killed early Sunday morning, and vowed not to let Afghanistan become a safe haven for terrorist groups.

Al-Qaeda's presence has irreparably damaged Afghanistan's national security and reputation, analysts and Afghan citizens told Salaam Times, adding that it poses a serious threat to the country.

"Al-Qaeda is an international terrorist network," Germany-based Afghan political analyst Mohammad Wais Nasiri told Salaam Times.

This photograph taken August 2 shows the Sherpur area in Kabul, where al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed by a US strike on July 31. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

This photograph taken August 2 shows the Sherpur area in Kabul, where al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed by a US strike on July 31. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

"It is a serious threat to the world, especially to Afghanistan," he said. "Ever since its establishment, it has carried out the bloodiest terrorist attacks, killing countless innocent civilians."

"Afghans never want Afghanistan to become a base for international terrorists because the existence of al-Qaeda has overshadowed the country's prestige and threatened its national security and national interests," Nasiri said.

The US State Department on Monday rebuked those who had been "hosting and sheltering the leader of al-Qaeda in Kabul".

It described the move as a gross violation of the Doha Agreement and "repeated assurances to the world that they would not allow Afghan territory to be used by terrorists to threaten the security of other countries".

Afghans are shocked

"We could not imagine the al-Qaeda leader was living in the heart of Kabul, just a few kilometres away from the Arg [presidential palace]," said Kabul resident Mohammad Tayeb, 23, who attends a private university.

"Everybody is shocked and disappointed by the revelation," Tayeb said.

"The news that the al-Qaeda leader lived in Kabul has unfortunately once again typecast Afghanistan as a base for terrorist networks," he added. "It has harmed Afghans' dignity and our country's reputation."

"The presence of the al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan is against the wishes of the Afghan people and the international community," said Kabul-based civil society activist Sayed Abdullah Hashimi, 36.

"I was shocked to learn from the media about the killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri," he said. "It is indeed questionable that he lived in Kabul's Sherpur area, where many foreign embassies and the houses of prominent officials are located."

"Afghans consider the presence of al-Qaeda a great risk to our country, and we are certainly against it," Hashimi said. "We do not want international terrorist groups to have sanctuary in Afghanistan."

"We urge the international community, particularly the US, not to allow Afghanistan once again to become a terrorist base that could pose threats to the people of Afghanistan and the world," he said.

"Afghans have been the victim of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups for several years," said Shukrullah Siddiqi, 29, of Kabul, who runs a fruit and grocery shop in the Baharistan neighbourhood.

"We do not want our country to become a centre for international terrorists once again, and have its reputation compromised on the world stage," he told Salaam Times.

Many welcome the news

"The presence of al-Qaeda has negative and unbearable consequences for Afghanistan," said Zahidullah Amarkhail, who lectures at a private university in Kabul. "It damages Afghans' reputation and status."

"It is important that we establish an amicable relationship with the international community and do not let al-Qaeda once again regroup and mobilise resources in our country," Amarkhail said.

"The existence of al-Qaeda poses serious threats to Afghanistan's national security, peace and stability as well as to the world," he told Salaam Times.

"As a superpower, the US has a moral responsibility to ensure global peace and security, and it has the right to target terrorist groups to achieve this," he said.

"We welcome the strike that resulted in the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul," Amarkhail said.

"Afghanistan's reputation will be at stake should al-Qaeda continue to operate in the country," said Kabul city schoolteacher Razia Nikzad, 27.

"If so, Afghanistan will be further isolated, politically and economically, and the Afghan people will have to endure the devastating consequences," she said.

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Afghanistan shouldn’t be the main object of the United States in fighting against international terrorism. If the United States tends to get rid itself and the world of terrorism, it must target the main nests of terrorism. Tehran and Rawalpindi are the bases for the world’s biggest terrorists and their masterminds. Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Pakistan's ISI are two bloodthirsty, murderous, and ruthless agencies that support terrorism not only in Afghanistan but throughout the region and the world. For instance, look at the situations of Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. Iran intervenes in all these countries and supports terrorist groups to confront the legitimate governments of their countries. Along with these, the Revolutionary Guards have been involved in a series of terrorist attacks across Europe and the United States. Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been equipping and training terrorists for many years. During the past 20 years, they trained the terrorists with all the resources they had to fight against the Afghan forces and their international partners. ISI has also carried out hundreds of terrorist attacks, including suicide attacks and car bombs in Afghanistan, India, and other countries. I am sure if the nests of terrorism in these two countries are destroyed, a large part of global terrorism would be affected.


Terrorist organizations, the United States, China, Russia, Britain, etc., please desist from Afghanistan. Our country is destroyed sufficiently. Our people have sacrificed enough. Every single person in this country has suffered a loss due to your interventions. Enough is enough. Al-Qaeda and ISIS, if you want to execute Islam, go to Pakistan. Go and see what is going on in Lahore and Punjab. Afghanistan is the most Islamic country in the world and no one in the world adheres to the rules of Islam more than Afghans do. Go and make free Kashmir. Go overthrow the impious government of Punjab. What do you want from the poor Afghans? The people of Afghanistan are not terrorists. The United States and the countries of the world, please target the main nests of terrorism. Pakistan is the nest and paradise of terrorism. Attack the main nests of terrorism. History has witnessed that Afghans have always been oppressed and assaulted. Adopt your dirty games in other countries. Go away and leave us alone.


The Afghans have to be shocked. For 40 years, we have been victims of the interference of foreign countries, they sometimes invaded Afghanistan in the form of regular forces and sometimes in the form of proxy and mercenary gangs. 25 years ago, by harboring Al-Qaeda and other international terroristsو the Taliban involved themselves in a crime, which cost them their collapse. It also led to the invasion of Afghanistan by the United States and its allies, as a result of which, thousands of people were killed and Afghanistan was destroyed, and the benefits of this invasion went to Pakistan. The Taliban still sheltering al-Qaeda and other international terrorists without considering its consequences like they have learned nothing from the past. This would make the United States and other countries invade Afghanistan once again, which would again lead to the killing of Afghans, and Pakistan would again benefit from such an attack same as it did from the murdering of Al-Zawahiri. Pakistan is the ultimate enemy of Afghanistan. This country has been built at the cost of the destruction and disruption of Afghanistan and the blood of Afghans. As Pakistan continues to destroy Afghanistan and make it weaken, unfortunately, the Afghan governments could never manage to hold this country accountable. I hope that one day Pakistan would be destroyed like Afghanistan or would even disappear from the map of the world.


What Zawahiri and his friends have been doing is not the product of a sound mind. My question is, why fight against America? Why hostility toward Americans? Why enmity with another person at all? Everyone is a creation of the Creator. This is one thing. Another thing is that when Americans do not stop you from doing economic activities, it doesn't stop you from getting an education. It doesn't stop your technological development. If it helps you in your country's development projects, then why the fighting? Did God say you should kill Americans? No. In general, the order of religion is that as long as others do not harm you, you should not harm him. And this ruling is a reality for every human being. Didn’t Bin Laden's family do business with the Americans until yesterday? I have heard that it is still doing business in America. I am not only saying this about Zawahiri and Laden's families, but I am also saying the same about Americans. Americans should not treat people of other countries in such a way that they feel insulted, stop their progress, or prevent their knowledge. Let's build a peaceful world. Let's create a world where all people can live in peace and tranquility.


But I say that the US has committed atrocities against many countries worldwide, one of which is Afghanistan. I am not talking about Zawahiri because Zawahiri has harmed humanity for many years, but I disagree with the words that you have written. For many years, America has made Afghans fight openly and secretly against others in which the Afghans are beaten and killed. America brought a lot of dollars to Afghanistan, but they took it back in one way or another. America knows better than us who took the dollars away. If America wanted good for us, they might not have turned our government into that of now. Suppose they did not want to stay here and wanted the continuation of Afghanistan's economic, cultural, health, social, and educational works. Why did they collapse the government and hand it over to a group previously known as terrorists? Well, if they are terrorists, what will the terrorists do? A nation that has been involved a nation in a problem is being punished every day; every day, its cry reaches to the sky... So bad remains that America has not done against us?


One gets wondering what to say. There is a situation in Afghanistan today where the Afghans are struggling to flee poverty, but Mr. Al-Zawahiri comes to it. Something will be wrong, especially when it comes to a person who is not an Afghan citizen. In any case, Afghans are weak people in every sense, they cannot make enmity with anyone, and they should not give place to foreign nationals.


عجب است! شما باید حتما پاکستانی باشید که این حرف ها را می زنید، افغانها مردم ضعیف نیستند، این را چندین مربته برای تان ثابت ساخته اند. این مسایل واقعا از عقل و دانش شما بالا هستند، این مسله وقتی شروع شد که پاکستان به اسامه پناه داد.