President Biden last year committed to the American people that, following the withdrawal of U.S. forces, the United States would continue to protect our country and act against terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan. The President made clear that we would not hesitate to protect the Homeland. With the operation that delivered justice to Ayman al-Zawihiri, the leader of al Qa’ida, we have made good on that commitment and we will continue to do so in the face of any future threats. We were able to do so in this instance — and will be positioned to do so going forward — as a result of the skill and professionalism of our intelligence and counterterrorism community colleagues, for whom the President and I are deeply grateful.
By hosting and sheltering the leader of al Qa’ida in Kabul, the Taliban grossly violated the Doha Agreement and repeated assurances to the world that they would not allow Afghan territory to be used by terrorists to threaten the security of other countries. They also betrayed the Afghan people and their own stated desire for recognition from and normalization with the international community. In the face of the Taliban’s unwillingness or inability to abide by their commitments, we will continue to support the Afghan people with robust humanitarian assistance and to advocate for the protection of their human rights, especially of women and girls.
The world is a safer place following the death of Zawahiri, and the United States will continue to act resolutely against those who would threaten our country, our people, or our allies and partners.