The United States killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike, President Joe Biden announced on Monday.
Zawahiri, 71, has been a key public figure for the group since the death of Osama bin Laden.
Zawahiri was in downtown Kabul to reunite with his family, Biden said.
“I authorized a precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield, once and for all," he said.
US officials said the terrorist leader was killed in a “precise tailored strike” using two Hellfire missiles on Saturday.
The strike came one year after Biden ordered a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
Biden said Zawahiri was “deeply involved in the planning of 9/11, one of the most responsible for the attacks that murdered 2,977 people on American soil. For decades, he was the mastermind of attacks against Americans."
"Now, justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more. People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer," he continued. "The United States continues to demonstrate our resolve and our capacity to defend the American people against those who seek to do us harm. We make it clear again tonight, that 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."
The Taliban, which took over the country after the US withdrawal, announced the drone strike on Twitter.
A spokesman for the group said it "strongly condemns this attack on any pretext and calls it a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement."
A U.S. official told CNN that senior Haqqani Taliban officials were aware of Zawahiri’s precence in Kabul in “clear violation of the Doha agreement.”