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White House insist there is a ‘small number’ after al-Zawahiri strike

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby now insists that the number of al-Qaeda hiding out in Afghanistan under the shield of the Taliban is not ‘very very large,’ one year after President Biden insisted the terrorist group was ‘gone’ from the nation. 

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a U.S. drone strike Monday while he was hiding out in downtown Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital and most populous city, at the home of a senior Taliban leader. 

Kirby said Zawahiri, who had a heavy hand in the 9/11 attacks, had been hiding out not in the remote mountains but in bustling Kabul since around December 2021, just four months after the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan and the Taliban took over. 

Asked how many members of al-Qaeda were still hiding out in Afghanistan, Kirby told

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