A six-bladed weapon was used to kill al-Qaeda leader by the United States.
The ‘Hellfire Ninja R9X’ missile attacks by launching swords that pop up to take down its victims, instead of an explosive.
The weapon has six extending blades that engage the target on impact and importantly does not trigger an explosion which reduces the risk of massive collateral damage to nearby civilians and infrastructure.
President Joe Biden announced the death Monday of Egypt’s Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was responsible for the 9/11 deaths as well as the USS Cole bombing, he said.
The al-Qaeda leader was hit by the strike when he stepped onto the balcony of his safe house in Kabul’s Shirpur district.
Mr Biden said the attack showed: “It doesn’t matter how long it is, no matter where you’re hiding. If you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out.”
Al Zawahiri was 71 years old.
The missile was developed under former President Barack Obama after concerns over the number of civilian deaths caused by airstrikes.
However, in a 2019 report on Wall Street Journal – who said the R9X is being referred to as the “flying Ginsu” by the popular steak knife brand – concerns were raised about the projectile’s use.
Human Rights Watch’s Letta Tayler wrote: “On its own, R9X will not resolve the multitude of legal issues surrounding the US targeted killing program, which since 2002 has killed thousands of people with little transparency.”
The strike came just under a year after the US withdrew its troops and evacuated tens of thousands of people as the Taliban retook the country.
The Taliban, who are apparently once again harboring the al-Qaida leader, confirmed the airstrike but did not report al-Zawahri or other casualties.
He said he “strongly condemns this attack and calls it a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement,” the 2020 US-Taliban agreement that led to the withdrawal of US forces.
In a statement, the Taliban added: “Such actions are a repetition of the failed experiences of the past 20 years and are against the interests of the United States of America, Afghanistan and the region.”