Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al Qaeda, was killed at the home of a Taliban member the FBI was looking for.
The jihadist, who was one of the people who planned the Sept. 9/11 attacks, was killed by a CIA drone strike Sunday morning at the home of senior Taliban official Sirajuddin Haqqani in Kabul, Gray Lady said in her first report.
The newspaper made headlines when it published an opinion piece by Haqqani, the leader of the insurgent Haqqani Network in Afghanistan, which has been linked to brutal and deadly attacks. In the piece, Haqqani asked US and Afghan leaders to reach a peace deal by 2020.
Critics and even some of the paper’s own reporters criticized it for giving the global terrorist a platform to reach thousands of readers and spread what many saw as propaganda. The Times explained why it chose to print the article at the time.
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Now, the Times is being accused of “stealth-editing” their story about al-death Zawahri to take out details that named Haqqani in the first report.
“According to one American analyst, the house that was hit belonged to a top aide to Sirajuddin Haqqani, a senior official in the Taliban government who, according to American officials, is close to senior al-Qaeda figures,” the Times wrote in its initial report.
But that paper got rid of that paragraph without an editor’s note and later replaced it with language that didn’t mention Haqqani by name, as Pluribus editor Jeryl Bier first pointed out.
“After the strike, members of the Haqqani network, which is part of the Taliban government and is a terrorist group, tried to hide the fact that Mr. Zawahri had been at the house and make it hard for people to get there, a senior administration official said. But the official said that the US had multiple pieces of intelligence proving that Mr. Zawahri was killed in the strike,” the Times wrote in an updated version of the story.
Critics of the newspaper said that Haqqani’s role in protecting al-Zawahri was taken out of the first paragraph because of the backlash the paper got for publishing the Taliban leader’s opinion piece.
In a statement to Fox News, a Times spokesperson said that this story was not true.
“We often change web stories, especially breaking news stories, to make them better, add new information, more context, or analysis,” a Fox spokesperson said.
In this case, we added more information from open press briefings to an essential piece of breaking international news. There is absolutely no link between how this news story was changed and anything else that Times Opinion has ever put out.”
Haqqani is the second-in-command of the Taliban. He is on the FBI’s most-wanted list because he is thought to have been involved in an attack on a Kabul hotel in January 2008 that killed six people, including an American. The agency also thinks he planned and took part in attacks against the US and coalition forces in Afghanistan across borders.
Stay tuned for more updates, Nog Magazine.