Florida senator continues to question Afghanistan withdrawal after al-Zawahiri killing

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 5:30 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - President Joe Biden announced Monday the U.S. killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of the terrorist group al-Qaida. With a drone strike taking out the head of al-Qaida, some lawmakers are saying America is safer today. But the leader’s death in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan prompts questions as to whether the country is once again a safe haven for terrorists after the U.S. removed troops a year ago.

Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) says the positive is the leader of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is gone. Osama bin Laden’s second in command during the September 11th attacks was killed in Kabul over the weekend.

Last year, after U.S. forces left Afghanistan, President Biden pledged over-the-horizon counterterrorism efforts - combating terrorism from afar. The president touts this drone strike as evidence this approach can work. Scott argues the al-Qaida leaders would not be in Afghanistan at all had the U.S. not withdrawn forces.

“I’m very appreciative the administration took this member out,” said Scott. “I think anybody that wants to harm our country should know their life’s going to be at risk. But the president said al-Qaida was gone and he said that we shouldn’t have any risk after the Afghanistan withdrawal, and we do.”

On a call with reporters Monday a senior administration official said the fact that the leader of al-Qaida was in Kabul violated an international agreement with the Taliban. The official said going forward, they will continue to hold the Taliban accountable.

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