Main menu

Pages

"State-of-the-art technology that eliminates bruises"

Islamabad:

State-of-the-art technology used to eliminate al-Qaeda supreme leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has become the topic of defense and intelligence officials around the world, with debate and speculation about how the high-value target was eliminated. is causing

President Joe Biden announced Monday night in a speech from the White House that a weekend US counter-terrorism operation in Afghanistan killed top al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri. , this terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said.

“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.”

Neither the White House nor the Pentagon provided details. of how the strike was carried out against one of his conspirators in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The U.S. Department of Defense said in a short statement: “Zawahiri was killed in an over-the-horizon operation in downtown Kabul, where he was staying as a Taliban guest. We were hit by two hellfire missiles.”

With no U.S. boots on the ground in Afghanistan, experts believe the U.S. had conducted similar attacks in Afghanistan from bases in Kyrgyzstan in the past, and could have carried out the attacks only through drone strikes. I was. The US also has bases at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar and Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.

The strike also sparked a string of accusations and allegations. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that the attacks on residences in the capital violated “international principles”.

In response, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that by harboring and protecting al-Qaeda leaders, the Taliban had seriously violated the terms of the Doha Accords.

The Pakistani side categorically denies any role in the strike. Babar Iftikhar, his Interoffice Public Relations Directorate (ISPR), denied the reports in a statement to a private television channel on Friday night, adding: “There is no doubt that Pakistani soil is being used for this purpose. No,” he said firmly.

“There is no evidence that this action was carried out using Pakistani airspace,” a foreign ministry spokesperson said in response to questions at the weekly briefing.

“Please refer to the statement we (previously) issued regarding this incident. That is our stated position,” the spokesperson said.

“The US drone that took out al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul may have been launched from an air base in Kyrgyzstan,” according to an English-language newspaper report, citing US media reports. The report also noted U.S. government officials who still refuse to reveal where the drones took off and which routes they used.

However, U.S. media reports mention a military base (unofficially known as Ganj Air Base) located near Manas International Airport near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, making Kyrgyzstan a major U.S. transit base. Defense and intelligence experts believe there is nothing to suggest that the US Air Force vacated the base but the CIA could not use it.

Zawahiri was killed in a drone strike as he stepped out onto the balcony of his compound in Sherpur, a wealthy downtown neighborhood, during a US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) operation.

He lived with his family in a house owned by an aide to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Taliban’s interior minister. His wife and daughter, who lived with him, were safe.

Images of the building showed that the entire strike damage appeared to be concentrated in the balconies. The lack of apparent explosive damage suggested it was his R9X, according to his lister, Charles of the Middle East Institute, who shared the image on his Twitter handle. ”

Read more: ‘Question’ about use of Pakistani airspace in Zawahiri attack, not soil: Fawad

Experts and counter-terrorism sources say U.S. special operations use satellites extensively to track terrorists, with a large number of small satellites secretly tracking high-value targets. . Special Operations Command has also developed several programs to help identify high-value al-Qaeda and ISKP targets using covert tracking tags. Hostile force tagging helps the United States track and identify targets using radio frequencies, identification devices, and more sophisticated technology.

The United States, backed by allies, has an extensive constellation of satellites that provides a significant advantage over its adversaries. According to open source data, the US has at least 406 satellites, UK – 5, Israel – 8, Canada – 5, Germany – 6, France – 8, greatly increasing its surveillance capabilities.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. operation to kill the al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan involved tracking the terrorist’s family to Kabul and spending months of intelligence to identify the target. said it needed. “This mission has really materialized over the last six or seven months,” he said in an interview.

Experts believe the Reaper makes the most sense given its endurance and weapon prowess. At 36 feet long and with a wingspan of 66 feet, the aircraft is loaded with laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles to keep him flying for 14 hours. At altitudes up to 50,000 feet he reaches speeds of 300 mph.

“It’s probably the CIA that did the attack, and they fly MQ-9 Reaper drones just like the Air Force,” said the director of the Center for a New American Security’s defense program in an interview with C4ISRNET. One Stacey Pettyjohn said. – A group of specialists dealing with the use of modern military technology.

The BBC, citing US officials, said the precision of the laser was due to the drone-launched Hellfire and did not cause collateral damage. Experts say that when a missile is fired from a drone, the weapon’s operator sits at a distance and uses a series of on-screen “target brackets” to “lock up” the target and point the laser at it. can do. that. When a missile is launched, it follows its laser path until it hits its target.

Reports published in US media suggest that the US used Reaper MQ 9 drones carrying a lesser-known version of the Hellfire missile. The BBC cited sources in its report suggesting that the US used her R9X, a relatively unknown version of Hellfire.

According to Janes Defense, the R9X Hellfire blade spins at high speed and deploys before impact — instead of conventional warhead explosives. The missile penetrates and cuts through the target rather than blowing it up. The impact takes the intended target and minimizes the chance of causing additional casualties.

Professor Michael Clarke, a defense analyst and former executive director of RUSI, told Sky News: “All Hellfire missiles are dependent on the warhead they carry.

He said the idea for R9X is to kill people by stabbing them with a spinning blade. The missile is very small, he is less than 4.5 feet in length and weighs up to 50kg. They can fire up to 12km and use a combination of lasers and her MMW (millimeter wave) technology.

According to Clark, MMW radar or “fire and forget” technology means that operatives can use laser beams to select targets and retreat without having to keep the target in focus. “It doesn’t have to be in a straight line, you can get it out of the way. In terms of guidance, it’s the best you can expect. It identifies a target and finds its own way there,” says Professor Clark. I got

.