Virginia lawmakers raise possible consequences of killing al-Qaida leader

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 6:57 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - President Joe Biden announced Monday the U.S. killed the leader of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri. The news had Virginia’s senators praising the administration while also providing feedback about what it means for the war on terror.

The two lawmakers said America and the rest of the world are safer today after the head of al-Qaida was killed by a drone strike in the capital of Afghanistan. At the same time, there are new concerns about whether the country is once again a haven for terrorists after the U.S. withdrew troops a year ago.

Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) said it is important one of the masterminds behind the September 11, 2001 terror attacks is dead. Al-Zawahiri was Osama bin Laden’s second in command until the U.S. killed bin Laden in 2011.

When American troops pulled out of Afghanistan in August, 2021, President Biden pledged to continue fighting terrorism from afar. Monday night, the president said the drone strike shows the approach can work.

Kaine and Warner spoke Tuesday about what retaliation could look following the mission.

“I can tell you, as chairman of the Intelligence Committee, activities of individuals and groups who might want to threaten America, we will continue to be on guard with or without these kind of actions,” said Warner.

“The Taliban was embarrassed by this. They were embarrassed to be called out in front of the world as sheltering the al-Qaida leaders who were thought to be in Pakistan. They were also embarrassed that the U.S. was able to, you know, successfully complete this very sophisticated military mission to take al-Zawahiri off the battlefield,” said Kaine.

Senator Kaine said the mission could complicate the Taliban’s willingness to help get Afghani and American citizens out of Afghanistan. Also, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said while President Biden deserves credit for taking out al-Zawahiri, the resurgence of al-Qaida in the region was foreseeable and avoidable.

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