The White House was forced to admit it did not have DNA confirmation that al-Qaeda’s top leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a CIA drone strike, saying it would have to confirm the death by other means.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CNN:
“We do not have DNA confirmation. We’re not going to get that confirmation.”
“Quite frankly, based on multiple sources and methods that we’ve gathered information from, we don’t need it.”
“We have visual confirmation, but we also have confirmation through other sources,” Kirby added.
President Joe Biden announced the drone strike on Monday, saying US intelligence had located Zawahiri in downtown Kabul.
Reports said Ayman al-Zawahiri was living with his family in a safe house in Kabul’s Sherpur neighborhood.
Following the announcement of the drone strike, an administration official told reporters that US intelligence had “high confidence” Zawahiri was killed.
Biden claimed no civilians were killed in the strike, with no reports from the Taliban of civilian casualties.
The Taliban have condemned the drone strike, accusing the US of violating the Doha agreement.
The Taliban account of the strike matches the US account, although they have not confirmed that it was Zawahiri who was killed.
Eerily similar to the ‘killing’ of Osama Bin Laden
As The BBC reported in 2011, US officials saidBin Laden’s body was treated with respect and buried at sea.
However, some Muslims argue there was no good reason for not burying it on land.
Islamic tradition requires the dead to be buried as soon as possible, unless an autopsy is required.
The US military took this requirement very seriously, burying the body within hours.
“Traditional procedures for Islamic burial were followed,” an official said.
The body was then flown to Afghanistan and Bin Laden’s identity was confirmed.
Officials said at the time the DNA sample was taken that matched that of several other family members. Some sources say facial recognition technology was also used.