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Tags: sen. joni ernst | al-zawahri | al-qaida | afghanistan | taliban

Sen. Ernst to Newsmax: al-Zawahri Death Shows al-Qaida Staying 'Undisturbed'

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa,speaks at a news conference after the Senate luncheons in the U.S. Capitol on June 22, 2022 in Washington, D.C. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 02 August 2022 10:19 AM EDT

The drone strike killing of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri shows that the United States "has the best military and covert operations forces in the world," but it also reveals that the terrorist organization remains present in Afghanistan, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, told Newsmax on Tuesday. 

Al-Zawahri was killed during the weekend while he was outside on his Kabul safe house's balcony,

"That's a really bad morning for this leader of al-Qaida, but it does go to show that al-Qaida is very comfortable in Afghanistan, and they've been undisturbed for far too long," Ernst said on "Wake Up America."

"The fact that he was able to reside right there in the capital city with the Taliban all around goes to show that of course, with the precipitous withdrawal in Afghanistan, we left a lot of unfinished business."

Last year, after the U.S. pulled its troops from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden said that al-Qaida was "gone" from the country. But that same day, then-Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters that the organization remained a "presence." there, according to CNN.

Ernst told Newsmax that while there is always a concern about retaliation in exchange for the death of a terrorist leader such as al-Zawahri, the U.S. can deal with it.

"We have the strongest military on the face of the planet and we do again have those great special operators, covert operators that we know are out there doing that their absolute darndest to protect us," said Ernst, who retired in 2015 as a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard and who spent a year in Kuwait serving as the company commander of the 1168th Transportation Company during the Iraq War.

Still, the U.S. must remain vigilant and support its military, as al-Qaida may be weakened but it has also spread to other areas around the world, Ernst said. 

Meanwhile, the Taliban has not followed the Doha agreement to end the war in Afghanistan, and the Biden administration has not pushed on that, Ernst said. 

"It goes to show that they are continuing to harbor terrorists in the country of Afghanistan, so relations will remain strained and it is extremely unfortunate that we don't have the type of influence that we do within that country as we did prior to the withdrawal," she said.  

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The drone strike killing of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri shows that the United States "has the best military and covert operations forces in the world," but it also reveals that the terrorist organization remains present in Afghanistan, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, told Newsmax on Tuesday. 
sen. joni ernst, al-zawahri, al-qaida, afghanistan, taliban
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2022-19-02
Tuesday, 02 August 2022 10:19 AM
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