Dan Smock loved the view from the balcony of his house in Kabul, which he shared with fellow American aid workers. Overlooking the cityscape of Afghanistan’s capital, I could see the stunning snow-capped mountains in the distance. Smock liked it so much that he says he “played on that balcony a lot” while in Afghanistan.
9/11 planner and al-Qaeda boss Ayman al-Zawahiri was on the same balcony early Sunday morning for a TV show. Killed in US drone attack.
Osama bin Laden’s successor is believed to have been shredded by a special blade-wielding Hellfire missile when he was alone on his balcony. His fateful daily habit of reading on a scenic terrace was used to establish a “pattern of life” in an operation that ultimately killed him. according to reports.
But that same balcony was an American haven in the heart of Kabul long before 71-year-old Zawahiri spent his final moments there.
“It’s kind of weird,” Smock, who now lives in Texas, told the Daily Beast. Most of them are blurry or full of drunk people, but you know what?
The 48-year-old said he lived in the house from 2012 to 2014. At the time, Smock was in Afghanistan where he was working on a USAID-funded project. He has happy memories of living in the building with his colleagues in a safe bubble, insulated from the dangers that plagued Kabul at the time. I was there,” Smock says. “I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t really leave, so we’re all hanging out. I can’t go anywhere, I have nothing else to do, I can get my alcohol, so it’s very much like this.” It will be a kind of college reunion type experience.
Not only was his former flat house used as a hideout for the world’s most wanted terrorist this week, but a drone strike targeting him hit the same balcony where Smock once spent time. Imagine Smock’s surprise when it turned out. Told. first reported To Guardian, said of his initial reaction. “Then it’s kind of weird. We literally funded the building and then had to leave.
Initially, an Iraqi veteran, Smock was unsure if it really could be the same location stationed by the US government. However, the details that soon surfaced in the report of the assassination left him beyond doubt. The strike took place at a building in He Sherpur district behind the Ghazanfar bank. Photographs of the building after the attack also included a distinctive lattice-like feature that Smock immediately recognized. It didn’t take long for Smock to come to a conclusion. I probably lived on the same floor as him.
While there, Smock blogged Sunny in Kabul and used the view from the balcony as the header image. He is currently writing fiction based on his experiences in Afghanistan. Events of the week, he says, too good to miss. He enjoys imagining a poor real estate agent tasked with finding new tenants for his former home: “How is he going to post this bastard on Zillow?” increase. “He will have to reveal the fact that Al-Qaeda died on the balcony.”
Aside from his personal feelings about the previous home being attacked, Smock is skeptical of the value of operations like the one used to assassinate Zawahiri. It’s very similar to how it finally rolled over us,” says Smock. “What’s frustrating to watch is that we’re still playing the same whack-a-mole game. We’re still playing high-value targets. We’re still saying, ‘Kill the top guy.’ I think the problem will be solved.” And it’s not.
“It’s a very surreal experience to just kind of come full circle. ‘Oh yeah, the guy who started GWOT.'” [global war on terror] lived in my house,” he says.