Taliban claimed that prior to the US drone strike, it was unaware that al-Qaeda leader al-Zawahri was in Afghanistan.

On Special Report, White House correspondent Peter Doocy provides the most recent information on American responses to the Taliban.

NEW Fox News articles can now be heard on audio! Four days after Ayman al-Zawahri was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, the Taliban claimed on Thursday that it was unaware of his presence there.

The Taliban stated on Tuesday that it had instructed “investigative and intelligence services to conduct serious and extensive inquiries on various elements of the mentioned event,” reversing curt remarks it had made after President Biden announced the drone strike on Sunday.

The operation was initially denounced by the Taliban, who took control of Afghanistan almost a year ago, and they claimed it was a “clear violation of the Doha Agreement.”

Afghan Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen speaks during a joint news conference in Moscow, Russia.

Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Afghan Taliban, talks at a joint press conference in Moscow, Russia. Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP Photo (Pool)

However, as part of the 2020 Doha Agreement, which the United States and the rebel organization signed, the Taliban vowed not to give sanctuary to anyone planning an attack on the United States or members of al-Qaeda.

Al-Zawahri was discovered to be residing in a safe house in Kabul with connections to the Taliban deputy leader.
The al-Qaeda chief had reportedly spent months staying at the residence of a close associate of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Haibatallah Akhundzada.
Al-Zawahri stepped outdoors and onto a balcony before being assassinated by a U.S. drone strike.

Recently slain Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahri speaks on the 11th anniversary of Usama bin Laden's death.

On the eleventh anniversary of Usama bin Laden’s passing, recently assassinated Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahri gives a speech. (AP Photo/File: Mazhar Ali Khan)

Asserting that it “had no knowledge of the arrival and presence” of al-Zawahri in Afghanistan, the Taliban declared in a statement on Thursday.
The statement was made during a high-level meeting that Taliban leaders allegedly attended on Wednesday, however the specifics of the meeting are yet unknown.

The death of the al-Qaeda commander and Al-presence Zawahri’s in Kabul have further strained ties between Kabul and Washington as Taliban officials look to raise money from abroad to help Afghanistan’s crippled economy.

Usama bin Laden, left, and al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri.

Ayman al-Zawahri, the head of al Qaeda, and Usama bin Laden. (Hamid Mir, Editor, Daily Dawn, Ausaf Newspaper, Handout via REUTERS/File Photo)

Recent negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban are also said to have focused on $3.5 billion in Afghan assets that the U.S. frozen in August 2021 when Ashraf Ghani’s presidency fell apart.

Under their statement on Thursday, the Taliban also made an effort to reassure Washington, claiming that “no country, including America, is in threat from the land of Afghanistan.”

This report was made possible by the Associated Press.
Reporter Caitlin McFall works for Fox News Digital. Her email address is caitlin.mcfall@fox.com, and her Twitter handle is @ctlnmcfall.

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