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Mystery Surrounds Fate of Zawahiri’s Body

Mystery Surrounds Fate of Zawahiri’s Body

Tuesday, 9 August, 2022 - 06:30
The Taliban secure a protest against the US strike that killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul last week (EPA)

Mystery surrounds the fate of the body of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was killed in a US drone strike in Kabul last week.

While the Taliban has denied finding the body, a former senior official stated that the movement actually secretly buried it in Kandahar.

Amrullah Saleh, former Afghan first vice president, said in a Facebook post that the Taliban have secretly buried the body of Zawahiri and his companions in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan.

He added: “Someone from Kandahar sent me pictures and coordinates.”

However, a Taliban official said, during interviews with a number of local and international media, that Taliban security officials, who cordoned off Zawahiri's house, in the wake of the drone attack, failed to find his body in the rubble.

Information minister in the Taliban government Zabihullah Mujahid said the investigation that began at the site of the killing concluded that there was no body at the time of the attack.

“Everything was destroyed, but we did not find a body there,” he noted.

The Taliban security forces rushed to cordon off the Zawahiri's house after he was hit by a Hellfire missile in the heart of Kabul last week.

Security experts in Islamabad said the presence of al-Qaeda guards boosts the possibility that they had removed the body from the rubble, given that Taliban forces barred anyone from approaching the house after the strike.

The Taliban has long denied the presence of Zawahiri in Kabul, and dismissed the claims as mere western propaganda.

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