US Joe Biden confirmed that American forces successfully carried out a counterterrorism operation in Afghanistan, targeting and executing al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was hiding out in a Kabul safe house.

“He carved a trail of murder and violence against American citizens. American service members, American diplomats, and American interests. And since the United States delivered justice to bin Laden 11 years ago, Zawahiri has been a leader of Al Qaeda, the leader, from hiding, he coordinated Al Qaeda’s branches and all around the world, including setting priorities for providing operational guidance that called for and inspired attacks against US targets,” Biden said.

Also read: US operation in Afghanistan killed top al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri

“Justice has been delivered,” the 79-year-old president claimed as he addressed the nation in a televised speech. “And this terrorist leader is no more. People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer. The United States continues to demonstrate our resolve and our capacity to defend the American people against those who seek to do us harm. You know, we make it clear again tonight that no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out.”

Biden described the operation in detail, noting that after “relentlessly seeking Zawahiri for years under Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump, our intelligence community located Zawahiri earlier this year. He had moved to downtown Kabul to reunite with members of his immediate family.”

Also read: US confirms ‘successful’ mission against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan: All you need to know

Biden stated that he authorised the “precision strike” that killed Zawahiri after “carefully considering the clear and convincing evidence” of his whereabouts.

“This mission was carefully planned, rigorously minimized the risk of harm to other civilians, and one week ago, after being advised that the conditions were optimal, I gave the final approval to go get him, and the mission was a success,” he added.

Also read: Ayman al-Zawahiri family: Parents, wives, and children

The president assured, “None of his family members were hurt, and there were no civilian casualties. I’m sharing this news with the American people now after confirming the mission’s total success through the painstaking work of our counterterrorism community and key allies and partners. My administration has kept congressional leaders informed as well.”