WASHINGTON – US media stories recommend the American drone that reportedly killed Al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri within the Afghan capital Kabul was flown from an airbase in Kyrgyzstan.
The stories got here amid heightened media speculations that the drone strike in Afghanistan was carried out from Pakistan.
The stories say the assault was carried out from Ganci Airbase, a US transit facility at Manas in northern Kyrgyzstan.
Based on the US Division of Defence, Ganci is a former American navy base in Kyrgyzstan, close to the Bishkek worldwide airport. It was operated by the US Air Power, which handed it over to the Kyrgyz navy in June 2014.
The US administration, nonetheless, remains to be refusing to reveal the place the drone took off from and what route it used. The Division of Defence solely issued a short assertion, saying: “Zawahiri was killed in an over-the-horizon operation in downtown Kabul, where he was residing as a guest of the Taliban. The house was struck by two Hellfires missiles in a precision, counterterrorism operation at 6:18am Kabul time on Sunday.”
The Nationwide Public Radio (NPR), America’s largest radio information community, famous that US officers weren’t saying the place they launched the drone from, “but the US no longer has any military bases in the immediate region, suggesting the aircraft may have flown a long distance before reaching its target”.
Michael Kugelman, a scholar of South Asian affairs on the Wilson Heart, Washington, famous that the drone strike has generated “lots of discussion” within the US on “Pakistan’s possible role” within the raid.
“I wouldn’t overstate its role, but also would take with some grains of salt the contention that there was no role at all.”
Mr Kugelman targeted his consideration on two doable types of help: airspace and intelligence. “The geography doesn’t lie. If this drone was launched from a US base in the Gulf, it wouldn’t be able to fly over Iran. Flying over Central Asia is circuitous and hard to pull off if you’re undertaking a rapid operation,” he wrote.
“This leaves the Pakistani airspace as the most desirable option for intelligence support and US officials have indicated the planning and surveillance for this operation took months.”
“Could it do that all alone, with no on-ground presence?” he requested, including that if not Pakistan, “some renegade Taliban members might have supplied that information to the US”.
However Mr Kugelman doesn’t rule out the potential of Afghanistan’s Central Asian neighbours offering that help to the US.
In distinction to the US authorities and media claims, the Taliban stated on Thursday they haven’t any data of Ayman al-Zawahiri’s presence in Afghanistan.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has no information about Ayman al-Zawahiri’s arrival and stay in Kabul,” stated an official assertion — the Taliban’s first point out of his identify since Biden’s announcement.