Pictures show home in Kabul where al-Qaeda chief was killed by US strike

The identification was done by geolocation and verification of the authenticity of three photos circulating on social media since Sunday, in addition to using archived high-resolution satellite images.

Zawahiri was on the balcony when the strike took place, US President Joe Biden said in a speech Monday evening. CNN has contacted the National Security Council for comment on the identification of the house, but has not received an immediate response.

Located in the Sherpur district of the Afghan capital, the house is surrounded by several houses and buildings to the north, south and west. Immediately east of the house is Omaid High School.

Just under 300 meters southeast of the house is the United Kingdom Embassy in Kabul. According to the British Foreign Office, all diplomatic and consular personnel are “temporarily withdrawn” from the country.

This photo appears to show the aftermath of the strike.

A resident living near the area who heard a loud explosion after 6 a.m. Sunday told CNN that Taliban fighters continue to proliferate in the area. The person asked not to be identified for fear of his life.

The strike “shock” his own home, the resident said.

The Sherpur area of ​​Kabul was an old military base, but during the years of civil conflict and Taliban rule in the 1990s, it was left almost unused. In 2003, the Afghan Defense Ministry abandoned it and the government divided it into more than 50 lots, giving them to powerful people, including government ministers and other senior officials, plus warlords and drug lords. Their homes were soon nicknamed “poppy palaces.”

After the fall of Ashraf Ghani’s government in August 2021, most of the Sherpur home owners fled the country and their homes were seized by the Taliban.

It is unclear who owns the house where Zawahiri was murdered or if it is one of those seized.

On Tuesday, it was seen that a green tarpaulin had been draped over the balcony, where the rocket attack appears to have taken place.

A BBC TV news team, filming near the house, said the Taliban had told them to leave the area after it captured video of the house and the surrounding area for their report.

The Taliban have continued to close streets leading to the site, a local resident told CNN.

Journalists trying to access the site all Tuesday were blocked from the main and side roads, a reporter told CNN.

Citizens on bicycles, motorcycles and cars were also all barred from entry, the journalist said.

BBC footage shows Ayman al-Zawahiri's childhood home where a rocket attack took place.

The house is in an area called the Green Zone, where most of the former Afghan government officials lived. Last year, the home of Acting Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi in the area was attacked by a Taliban car bomb.

Zawahiri took shelter in downtown Kabul to reunite with his family, Biden said, and was killed in what one senior government official described as “a precisely tailored airstrike” using two Hellfire missiles.

The strike, which took place in Kabul at 9:48 PM ET on Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday morning, was approved by Biden after weeks of meetings with his cabinet and key advisers.
It took out the 71-year-old al-Qaeda leader who once acted as Osama bin Laden’s personal doctor and who climbed to the top of the terrorist organization after US forces assassinated bin Laden in 2011.

The jihadist monitoring SITE Intelligence Group said “some segments of the jihadist community” are holding the Taliban responsible for the death of the al-Qaeda leader, believing his officials have disclosed his location to US intelligence.

CNN has contacted the Taliban for comment.

Before giving the order to kill the terrorist leader, Biden wanted to understand the environment he was hiding in. Among the preparations was a small-scale model of Zawahiri’s hiding place, built by intelligence officials and placed in the White House situation room for Biden to examine while he discussed his options.

CNN’s Mostafa Salem and Rob Picheta contributed to this article.

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