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After Al Qaeda leader killed – “Cooperation with US benefits Taliban” – News

After the US targeted and killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda, the question arises as to how the US knows where he lives. Freelance journalist Stephanie Klinsky thinks Taliban members should have helped them.

Stephanie Klinsky

Freelance journalist

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Freelance journalist Stefanie Glinski reports for the British “Guardian”, “Foreign Policy” and “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”.

SRF News: You live in the same area in Kabul as the Al Qaeda leader. How did America know his whereabouts?

Stephanie Klinsky: I and many experts believe that at least some of the Taliban contributed to the drone attacks.

Afghanistan experts believe other Taliban members grew weary of al-Zawahiri’s presence and tipped off the US about his presence.

Divisions within the Taliban are evident. Of course, not all Taliban are behind it. That some al-Zawahiris put up with the Haqqani network, for example, is quite clear. Al-Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul confirms this. Experts believe other members of the Taliban grew weary of his presence and told the US about it. Either way, the Taliban knew the Al Qaeda boss was living there. Houses in the neighborhood, including mine, have been raided for months.

Why do you think the Taliban know this?

The Taliban movement is divided. On the one hand, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who signed the Doha Agreement. On the other hand, there are the already mentioned Haqqanis, who are not always in ideological agreement with the Taliban. The Haqqanis have long cooperated with al-Qaeda, and presumably still do.

Cooperation with the US also benefits the Taliban.

Cooperation with the US also benefits the Taliban. The US continues to freeze billions in Afghan funds. Many Taliban are allowed. While the Taliban continue to speak out publicly against the US, I can imagine that some see cooperation with the US as important. They want to free up funds and remove barriers.

Has the Taliban commented on the drone strike?

Yes, the spokesperson condemned the attack. But very little is said about it. This political game must be played now: the Taliban accuse the US of breaking the Doha Accords, and the Taliban accuse the US of breaking the Doha Accords. The fact that they spoke so briefly shows that some of the Taliban are aware of this.

A burqa-clad woman walks in a modern shopping district in Kabul


According to journalist Klinsky, the Taliban disagreed on some issues, even when dealing with women’s rights.

Keystone SDA/EPA/Stringer

Is al-Zawahiri related to house seekers in the neighborhood and your home?

Yes. The Taliban have listed which houses, which foreigners, which MPs, who else.

The attack further fragmented the already divided Taliban.

Some within the Taliban support reconciliation with the United States. Others vehemently deny this. What consequences could this drone strike have for the Taliban?

The attack further fragmented the already divided Taliban. Since the beginning of their rule, there have been many internal conflicts. It was about questions of who to cooperate with, whether exports should go to Pakistan, whether girls should go to school. These are all issues on which the Taliban disagree.

This has caused severe stress in the system. This government cannot be divided as it is now. Expats living in Kabul now worry and wonder: How many members of Al Qaeda are still in Kabul and Afghanistan? Is it dangerous?

Interview conducted by Claudia Weber.