Ayman al-Zawahri, one of the key leaders who helped plot the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, was killed by a US drone strike. Washington confirmed that the weekend’s early morning strike in the heart of Kabul finally reached al-Zawahri.

The US has been tracking this Qaeda leader for 21 years, especially since he was one of the blacklisted leaders working closely with Osama Bin Laden.

“Now justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more,” Mr. Biden said in a seven-minute nationally televised address from the White House. “We make it clear again tonight,” he added, “that no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out.”

Earlier this year, US intelligence was able to track al-Zawahri in Kabul, and they spent months confirming his identity. Finally, a senior administration official confirmed that al-Zawahri was killed on the balcony of a house when he was targeted with two Hellfire missiles. Apparently, there was no US military on the ground in Afghanistan, and this was an “over-the-horizon” operation.

The White House confirmed President Biden had been in all the meetings to plan the attack. Biden reported, “asked detailed questions about what we knew and how we knew it. Importantly, he examined closely the model of al-Zawahiri’s house that the intelligence community had built and brought into the White House situation room for briefings on this issue.”

The president also covered discussions around weather, construction material, lighting, and other factors that could influence civilian casualties.

“He was particularly focused on ensuring that every step had been taken to ensure the operation would minimize that risk and he wanted to understand the basis on which we had confidence in our assessment.”