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VOICES Statement of Killing of al-Qaeda Leader

Voices Center for Resilience Statement In Response to the Killing of al-Qaeda Leader and 9/11 Mastermind, Ayman al-Zawahiri

On Monday, August 1, 2022, President Joe Biden announced that al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan. The President said he hoped the operation delivered “one more measure of closure” to families of the victims of September 11, 2001.

The announcement of al-Zawahiri’s death brings some relief that he is no longer a threat and justice has been served. Yet, similar to the day that Bin Laden was killed, the death of al-Zawahiri brings back the heartbreak of the horrific death our loved ones suffered, and the grim reminder of how our lives were changed forever.

On behalf of the families who lost loved ones on that day, we want to express our gratitude to the Biden Administration, the U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism communities, military branches and the Nation’s allies for their ongoing pursuit of those who perpetrated this evil act in killing our loved ones. That the al-Zawahiri mission was a success, with no further loss of life, demonstrates the skill of these dedicated individuals who were involved in planning and implementing the drone strike.

The terrorist attacks on September 11 have had lifelong consequences. In addition to the 2,977 families who suffered the loss of a loved one, over 5,200 responders and survivors have died since of 9/11-related illnesses, and over 83,000 have been diagnosed with serious medical and mental health conditions.

As we approach the 21st Anniversary of September 11, it is important to our families that the memory of our loved ones lives on so that future generations Always Remember the lives they lived. Equally important, we want to ensure that history does not repeat itself, so no other family suffers the loss we suffered.

The 9/11 Commission, tasked with investigating systemic failures that contributed to the attacks on September 11, made recommendations to implement sweeping intelligence reforms, and much progress has been made. Despite the passage of time and our current focus on domestic threats, it is imperative that we remain vigilant about the threat of terrorism around the world. Communications within and among federal agencies and collaboration with our international partners is more important than ever.

Much work remains to be done, including holding the Saudis involved in the 9/11 attacks accountable for their actions, and identifying the individuals who continue to financially support terrorism. The threat of terrorism is real, and full transparency is critical for those brave men and women who are tasked with protecting us. The safety of our Nation and the world depends upon it.