Taliban claim they were not aware of Al Qaeda leader's presence in Kabul

Taliban claim they were not aware of Al Qaeda leader's presence in Kabul

The Taliban claimed they were not aware that Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was residing in the Afghan capital of Kabul, where the US said he was killed in a drone strike over the weekend.

The Taliban said on Thursday that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan hasn't received any information about Ayman al-Zawahiri'sal-Zawahiri's arrival and stay in Kabul.

The Taliban said that the intelligence and investigative agencies would be instructed by the leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to conduct a thorough investigation into the various aspects of the incident.

A senior US administration official said senior Taliban figures from the Haqqani network were aware of the presence of the al Qaeda chief in the area and even took steps to conceal his presence after the strike, restricting access to the safe house and quickly relocating members of his family, including his daughter and her children.

The house where Al Qaeda was hiding is located in the Sherpur area of the Green Zone, where most of the officials from the previous Afghan government used to live. The Sherpur neighborhood was once the site of an old military base but was almost unfilled during the years of civil conflict and the Taliban rule in the 1990s. In 2003, the Afghan defense ministry abandoned it, and the government divided it into more than 50 plots, giving them to powerful people, including government ministers and other high-ranking officials, plus warlords and drug lords. Their houses soon gained the nickname of poppy palaces. After the fall of the Ashraf Ghani government in August 2021, a majority of the owners of Sherpur houses fled the country and their houses were confiscated by the Taliban.