The U.S. drone strike that killed Ayman al-Zawahri in Kabul on Sunday caught the Taliban leadership both red-handed and flat-footed. Their promises to prevent the country from once again becoming a terrorist haven have been exposed as lies: The al-Qaida leader was living in the Afghan capital, reportedly in a house belonging to a top Taliban leader.

Three days after the killing, the Taliban was still struggling to formulate a response. That might be because Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban’s supreme commander, and his leadership team, recognize both the opportunity and the challenge presented by al-Zawahri’s killing.

Bobby Ghosh is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering foreign affairs.


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