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Osama bin Laden killed by U.S. forces

Osama bin Laden killed by U.S. forces



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On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, is killed by U.S. forces during a raid on his compound hideout in Pakistan. The notorious, 54-year-old leader of Al Qaeda, the terrorist network of Islamic extremists, had been the target of a nearly decade-long international manhunt.

Revealed: The Hunt for Bin Laden premieres Sunday, May 2 at 8/7c on The HISTORY® Channel.

The raid began around 1 a.m. local time (4 p.m. EST on May 1, 2011 in the United States), when 23 U.S. Navy SEALs in two Black Hawk helicopters descended on the compound in Abbottabad, a tourist and military center north of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. One of the helicopters crash-landed into the compound but no one aboard was hurt.

During the raid, which lasted approximately 40 minutes, five people, including bin Laden and one of his adult sons, were killed by U.S. gunfire. No Americans were injured in the assault. Afterward, bin Laden’s body was flown by helicopter to Afghanistan for official identification, then buried at an undisclosed location in the Arabian Sea less than 24 hours after his death, in accordance with Islamic practice.

Just after 11:30 p.m. EST on May 1 (Pakistan’s time zone is 9 hours ahead of Washington, D.C.), President Barack Obama, who monitored the raid in real time via footage shot by a drone flying high above Abbottabad, made a televised address from the White House, announcing bin Laden’s death. “Justice has been done,” the president said. After hearing the news, cheering crowds gathered outside the White House and in New York City’s Times Square and the Ground Zero site.

READ MORE: How SEAL Team Six Took Out Osama bin Laden

Based on computer files and other evidence the SEALs collected during the raid, it was later determined that bin Laden was making plans to assassinate President Obama and carry out a series of additional attacks against America, including one on the anniversary of September 11, the largest terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil, which left nearly 3,000 people dead. Shortly after the 2001 attack, President George W. Bush declared bin Laden, who was born into a wealthy family in Saudi Arabia in 1957 and used his multi-million-dollar inheritance to help establish Al Qaeda and fund its activities, would be captured dead or alive. In December of that year, American-backed forces came close to capturing bin Laden in a cave complex in Afghanistan’s Tora Bora region; however, he escaped and would continue to elude U.S. authorities for years.

A break in the hunt for bin Laden came in August 2010, when C.I.A. analysts tracked the terrorist leader’s courier to the Abbottabad compound, located behind tall security walls in a residential neighborhood. (U.S. intelligence officials spent the ensuing months keeping the compound under surveillance; however, they were never certain bin Laden was hiding there until the raid took place.)

The U.S. media had long reported bin Laden was believed to be hiding in the remote tribal areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border, so many Americans were surprised to learn the world’s most famous fugitive had likely spent the last five years of his life in a well-populated area less than a mile from an elite Pakistani military academy. After the raid, which the United States reportedly carried out without informing the Pakistani government in advance, some American officials suspected Pakistani authorities of helping to shelter bin Laden in Abbottabad, although there was no concrete evidence to confirm this.

READ MORE: 8 Facts About Osama bin Laden's Final Hideout


Osama bin Laden killed by U.S. forces - HISTORY

On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, was killed by US forces during a raid on his compound hideout in Pakistan.

The 54-year-old leader of Al Qaeda, the terrorist network of Islamic extremists, had been the target of a nearly decade-long international manhunt.

The raid began on May 1, 2011 in the US, when 23 US Navy SEALs in two Black Hawk helicopters descended on the compound in Abbottabad, a tourist and military centre North of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. One of the helicopters crash-landed into the compound but no one aboard was hurt.

During the raid, which lasted approximately 40 minutes, five people, including bin Laden and one of his adult sons, were killed by US gunfire.

Afterward, bin Laden’s body was flown by helicopter to Afghanistan for official identification, then buried at an undisclosed location in the Arabian Sea less than 24 hours after his death, in accordance with Islamic practice.
via history.com

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Osama Bin Laden Dead, Killed by U.S. Forces

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been killed in a special operations raid ordered by president Barack Obama of a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan&mdashabout 60 miles from that country’s capital, Islamabad.

Here is the video of the president’s address (the transcript follows):

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who&rsquos responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory — hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.

And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child&rsquos embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.

On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.

We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda — an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we&rsquove made great strides in that effort. We&rsquove disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.

Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.

And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.a

Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda&rsquos leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation&rsquos effort to defeat al Qaeda.

Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There&rsquos no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must &ndash- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.

As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not &ndash- and never will be -&ndash at war with Islam. I&rsquove made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.

Over the years, I&rsquove repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we&rsquove done. But it&rsquos important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.

Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.

The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who&rsquos been gravely wounded.

So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda&rsquos terror: Justice has been done.

Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who&rsquove worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.

We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.

Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.

And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today&rsquos achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.

The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it&rsquos the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.


Mission execution

Dubbed as Operation Neptune Spear, the mission began in the early morning of May 2, 2011.

Two Stealth Black Hawk helicopters left Afghanistan with Navy SEALs, ready to find America’s most wanted. But as they approached the compound, a wild technical error occurred in one of the helicopters, forcing it to crash-land within bin-Laden’s compound.

Obama’s control room went silent for a few but tense moments — then communications kicked in, stating that everyone was safe and ready to go. They were now at the belly of the beast.

The second chopper landed just outside the compound and deployed a force in charge of crowd control. It was one in the morning, and the sound of gunfire made people frantic.

The operatives then split to secure different sections of the compound. The team that investigated the guest-house encountered al-Kuwaiti and his family. Bin Laden’s trusted courier grabbed a rifle to resist, which prompted the soldiers to shoot him down. This killed him instantly.

Another team that was assigned to the first floor of the main building encountered al-Kuwaiti’s brother. A tense scuffle with the special forces led to the death of him and his wife.

As the team approached the staircase towards the second floor, they encountered resistance from Osama bin-Laden’s twenty-three-year-old son. Perhaps he would’ve been the heir to his father’s organization if the SEALs did not also kill him that night.

Finally, on the third floor, the SEALs found their target. Bursting into the locked door, three women shielded the now cornered bin-Laden. These were his final moments.

One of the SEALs thought that the women were armed with explosives, and so he shot one in the leg and tackled the others. As the chaos ensued, a member of his team pulled the trigger at bin-Laden. Immediately after, the soldier radioed this statement back to home base:

“For God and Country! Geronimo! Geronimo! Geronimo!”

This signaled that Geronimo, the mission’s codename for Osama bin-Laden, was just killed in action. The capture-kill mission was a success, and backup choppers evacuated the team.


U.S. Forces Kill Osama bin Laden

The body of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was buried at sea on Monday just hours after the terrorist leader was killed in a U.S. Special Forces operation in Pakistan, the culmination of nearly a decade of often-frustrated efforts to hunt down the mastermind of the largest terrorist attack in American history.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced late Sunday that U.S. troops killed the terrorist leader after the U.S. learned of his location in a mansion in Abbottabad, roughly 40 miles outside the capital city of Islamabad.

An initial DNA analysis showed a "virtually 100 percent" match of the body against DNA of several bin Laden family members, a senior U.S. intelligence official said Monday.

The death capped a multiyear manhunt for the architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that left nearly 3,000 people dead and dramatically altered U.S. foreign policy and the nation's sense of security. At the same time, it opens new chapters in several global narratives that have been shaped by the 9/11 attacks—including the often-tense relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, the long-running war in Afghanistan and the attempts across the Middle East to oust often-authoritarian leaders.

On Monday, Mr. Obama pointed to the bin Laden killing as moment for national unity, pointing to spontaneous celebrations early Monday outside the White House—and at Ground Zero in New York City, where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood—to mark the moment.


Today in military history: President Truman relieves General MacArthur of duty

Posted On April 09, 2021 01:14:00

On April 11, 1951, President Truman relieved General of the Army Douglas MacArthur of duty during the Korean War.

MacArthur, a graduate of the United States Military Academy, was considered a master of the art and execution of warfare. And by many accounts, he had the ego and arrogance to match. He was best known for his brilliance in both the Pacific theater of World War II and the Korean War, but he also had his share of missteps.

Meanwhile, Truman had had an exceptionally difficult six years in the White House, beginning with replacing the iconic Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and making the call to drop the atomic bomb on Japan. He was committed to limiting the scope of the Korean War — and that’s where the two started to butt heads.

MacArthur, simply put, sought to win. In his mind, that meant pushing further North and bombing the MiG bases in Manchuria, even if that meant bringing in Chinese Nationalist troops.

Things came to a head when MacArthur ordered the launch of an offensive on April 5, 1951. Two days later, American ships were sent off Formosa, trolling China. After the offensive launched, Truman met with senior advisors, who agreed MacArthur had to go, but warned it would be controversial.

On April 11, Truman relieved MacArthur to preserve civilian control of the military. MacArthur would receive some hype as a possible candidate for President, but ultimately he wouldn’t run. Instead, after a speech to Congress where he said, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away,” he went into retirement until his death in 1964.

Featured Image: President Truman and General MacArthur shake hands at Wake Island, 15 October 1950. (Image courtesy of of the Harry S. Truman Library)

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There is no universally accepted standard for transliterating Arabic words and Arabic names into English [25] however, bin Laden's name is most frequently rendered "Osama bin Laden". The FBI and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as well as other U.S. governmental agencies, have used either "Usama bin Laden" or "Usama bin Ladin". Less common renderings include "Ussamah bin Ladin" and, in the French-language media, "Oussama ben Laden". Other spellings include "Binladen" or, as used by his family in the West, "Binladin". The decapitalization of bin is based on the convention of leaving short prepositions, articles, and patronymics uncapitalized in surnames the nasab bin means "son of". The spellings with o and e come from a Persian-influenced pronunciation also used in Afghanistan, where bin Laden spent many years.

Osama bin Laden's full name, Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, means "Osama, son of Mohammed, son of Awad, son of Laden". [1] "Mohammed" refers to bin Laden's father Mohammed bin Laden "Awad" refers to his grandfather, Awad bin Aboud bin Laden, a Kindite Hadhrami tribesman "Laden" refers not to bin Laden's great-grandfather, who was named Aboud, but to Aboud's father, Laden Ali al-Qahtani. [26]

The Arabic linguistic convention would be to refer to him as "Osama" or "Osama bin Laden", not "bin Laden" alone, as "bin Laden" is a patronymic, not a surname in the Western manner. According to bin Laden's son Omar bin Laden, the family's hereditary surname is "al-Qahtani" (Arabic: القحطاني ‎, āl-Qaḥṭānī), but bin Laden's father, Mohammed bin Laden, never officially registered the name. [27]

Osama bin Laden had also assumed the kunyah "Abū 'Abdāllāh" ("father of Abdallah"). His admirers have referred to him by several nicknames, including the "Prince" or "Emir" (الأمير, al-Amīr), the "Sheik" (الشيخ, aš-Šaykh), the "Jihadist Sheik" or "Sheik al-Mujahid" (شيخ المجاهد, Šaykh al-Mujāhid), "Hajj" (حج, Ḥajj), and the "Director". [28] The word usāmah (أسامة) means "lion", [29] earning him the nicknames "Lion" and "Lion Sheik". [30]

Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden [1] [31] was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a son of Yemeni Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, a billionaire construction magnate with close ties to the Saudi royal family, [32] and Mohammed bin Laden's tenth wife, Syrian Hamida al-Attas (then called Alia Ghanem). [33] In a 1998 interview, bin Laden gave his birth date as March 10, 1957. [34]

Mohammed bin Laden divorced Hamida soon after Osama bin Laden was born. Mohammed recommended Hamida to Mohammed al-Attas, an associate. Al-Attas married Hamida in the late 1950s or early 1960s, and they are still together. [35] The couple had four children, and bin Laden lived in the new household with three half-brothers and one half-sister. [33] The bin Laden family made $5 billion in the construction industry, of which Osama later inherited around $25–30 million. [36]

Bin Laden was raised as a devout Sunni Muslim. [37] From 1968 to 1976, he attended the elite Al-Thager Model School. [33] [38] He studied economics and business administration [39] at King Abdulaziz University. Some reports suggest he earned a degree in civil engineering in 1979, [40] or a degree in public administration in 1981. [41] Bin Laden was an attendant at an English-language course in Oxford, England during 1971. [42] One source described him as "hard working" [43] another said he left university during his third year without completing a college degree. [44] At university, bin Laden's main interest was religion, where he was involved in both "interpreting the Quran and jihad" and charitable work. [45] Other interests included writing poetry [46] reading, with the works of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and Charles de Gaulle said to be among his favorites black stallions and association football, in which he enjoyed playing at centre forward and followed the English club Arsenal. [47]

At age 17 in 1974, bin Laden married Najwa Ghanhem at Latakia, Syria [48] they were separated before September 11, 2001. Bin Laden's other known wives were Khadijah Sharif (married 1983, divorced 1990s) Khairiah Sabar (married 1985) Siham Sabar (married 1987) and Amal al-Sadah (married 2000). Some sources also list a sixth wife, name unknown, whose marriage to bin Laden was annulled soon after the ceremony. [49] Bin Laden fathered between 20 and 26 children with his wives. [50] [51] Many of bin Laden's children fled to Iran following the September 11 attacks and as of 2010 [update] , Iranian authorities reportedly continue to control their movements. [52]

Nasser al-Bahri, who was bin Laden's personal bodyguard from 1997–2001, details bin Laden's personal life in his memoir. He describes him as a frugal man and strict father, who enjoyed taking his large family on shooting trips and picnics in the desert. [53]

Bin Laden's father Mohammed died in 1967 in an airplane crash in Saudi Arabia when his American pilot Jim Harrington [54] misjudged a landing. [55] Bin Laden's eldest half-brother, Salem bin Laden, the subsequent head of the bin Laden family, was killed in 1988 near San Antonio, Texas, in the United States, when he accidentally flew a plane into power lines. [56]

The FBI described bin Laden as an adult as tall and thin, between 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) and 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) in height and weighing about 73 kilograms (160 lb), although the author Lawrence Wright, in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book on al-Qaeda, The Looming Tower, writes that a number of bin Laden's close friends confirmed that reports of his height were greatly exaggerated, and that bin Laden was actually "just over 6 feet (1.8 m) tall". [57] Eventually, after his death, he was measured to be around 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in). [58] Bin Laden had an olive complexion and was left-handed, usually walking with a cane. He wore a plain white keffiyeh. Bin Laden had stopped wearing the traditional Saudi male keffiyeh and instead wore the traditional Yemeni male keffiyeh. [59] Bin Laden was described as soft-spoken and mild-mannered in demeanor. [60]

A major component of bin Laden's ideology was the concept that civilians from enemy countries, including women and children, were legitimate targets for jihadists to kill. [61] [62] According to former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, who led the CIA's hunt for Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader was motivated by a belief that U.S. foreign policy has oppressed, killed, or otherwise harmed Muslims in the Middle East. [63] As such, the threat to U.S. national security arises not from al-Qaeda being offended by what America is but rather by what America does, or in the words of Scheuer, "They (al-Qaeda) hate us (Americans) for what we do, not who we are." Nonetheless, bin Laden criticized the U.S. for its secular form of governance, calling upon Americans to convert to Islam and reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling, and usury, in a letter published in late 2002. [64]

Bin Laden believed that the Islamic world was in crisis and that the complete restoration of Sharia law would be the only way to set things right in the Muslim world. He opposed such alternatives as secular government, [64] as well as pan-Arabism, socialism, communism, and democracy. [65] He subscribed to the Athari (literalist) school of Islamic theology. [66]

These beliefs, in conjunction with violent jihad, have sometimes been called Qutbism after being promoted by Sayyid Qutb. [67] Bin Laden believed that Afghanistan, under the rule of Mullah Omar's Taliban, was "the only Islamic country" in the Muslim world. [68] Bin Laden consistently dwelt on the need for violent jihad to right what he believed were injustices against Muslims perpetrated by the United States and sometimes by other non-Muslim states. [69] He also called for the elimination of Israel, and called upon the United States to withdraw all of its civilians and military personnel from the Middle East, as well as from every Islamic country of the world.

His viewpoints and methods of achieving them had led to him being designated as a terrorist by scholars, [70] [71] journalists from The New York Times, [72] [73] the BBC, [74] and Qatari news station Al Jazeera, [75] analysts such as Peter Bergen, [76] Michael Scheuer, [77] Marc Sageman, [78] and Bruce Hoffman. [79] [80] He was indicted on terrorism charges by law enforcement agencies in Madrid, New York City, and Tripoli. [81]

In 1997, he condemned the United States for its hypocrisy in not labeling the bombing of Hiroshima as terrorism. In November 2001, he maintained that the revenge killing of Americans was justified because he claimed that Islamic law allows believers to attack invaders even when the enemy uses human shields. However, according to Rodenbeck, "this classical position was originally intended as a legal justification for the accidental killings of civilians under very limited circumstances — not as a basis for the intentional targeting of noncombatants." [82] A few months later in a 2002 letter, he made no mention of this justification but claimed "that since the United States is a democracy, all citizens bear responsibility for its government's actions, and civilians are therefore fair targets." [82] [83]

Bin Laden's overall strategy for achieving his goals against much larger enemies such as the Soviet Union and United States was to lure them into a long war of attrition in Muslim countries, attracting large numbers of jihadists who would never surrender. He believed this would lead to economic collapse of the enemy countries, by "bleeding" them dry. [84] Al-Qaeda manuals express this strategy. In a 2004 tape broadcast by Al Jazeera, bin Laden spoke of "bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy". [85]

A number of errors and inconsistencies in bin Laden's arguments have been alleged by authors such as Max Rodenbeck and Noah Feldman. He invoked democracy both as an example of the deceit and fraudulence of Western political system—American law being "the law of the rich and wealthy" [86] —and as the reason civilians are responsible for their government's actions and so can be lawfully punished by death. [87] He denounced democracy as a "religion of ignorance" that violates Islam by issuing man-made laws, but in a later statement compares the Western democracy of Spain favorably to the Muslim world in which the ruler is accountable. Rodenbeck states, "Evidently, [bin Laden] has never heard theological justifications for democracy, based on the notion that the will of the people must necessarily reflect the will of an all-knowing God." [82]

Bin Laden was heavily anti-Semitic, stating that most of the negative events that occurred in the world were the direct result of Jewish actions. In a December 1998 interview with Pakistani journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai, bin Laden stated that Operation Desert Fox was proof that Israeli Jews controlled the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom, directing them to kill as many Muslims as they could. [88] In a letter released in late 2002, he stated that Jews controlled the civilian media outlets, politics, and economic institutions of the United States. [64] In a May 1998 interview with ABC's John Miller, bin Laden stated that the Israeli state's ultimate goal was to annex the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East into its territory and enslave its peoples, as part of what he called a "Greater Israel". [89] He stated that Jews and Muslims could never get along and that war was "inevitable" between them, and further accused the U.S. of stirring up anti-Islamic sentiment. [89] He claimed that the U.S. State Department and U.S. Department of Defense were controlled by Jews, for the sole purpose of serving the Israeli state's goals. [89] He often delivered warnings against alleged Jewish conspiracies: "These Jews are masters of usury and leaders in treachery. They will leave you nothing, either in this world or the next." [90] Shia Muslims have been listed along with heretics, America, and Israel as the four principal enemies of Islam at ideology classes of bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization. [91]

Bin Laden was opposed to music on religious grounds, [92] and his attitude towards technology was mixed. He was interested in earth-moving machinery and genetic engineering of plants on the one hand, but rejected chilled water on the other. [93]

Bin Laden also believed climate change to be a serious threat and penned a letter urging Americans to work with President Barack Obama to make a rational decision to "save humanity from the harmful gases that threaten its destiny". [94] [95]

Mujahideen in Afghanistan

After leaving college in 1979, bin Laden went to Pakistan, joined Abdullah Azzam and used money and machinery from his own construction company to help the Mujahideen resistance in the Soviet–Afghan War. [96] He later told a journalist: "I felt outraged that an injustice had been committed against the people of Afghanistan." [97] From 1979 to 1992, the United States (as part of CIA activities in Afghanistan, specifically Operation Cyclone), Saudi Arabia, and China provided between $6–12 billion worth of financial aid and weapons to tens of thousands of mujahideen through Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). [98] British journalist Jason Burke wrote that "He did not receive any direct funding or training from the US during the 1980s. Nor did his followers. The Afghan mujahideen, via Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency, received large amounts of both. Some bled to the Arabs fighting the Soviets but nothing significant." [99] Bin Laden met and built relations with Hamid Gul, who was a three-star general in the Pakistani army and head of the ISI agency. Although the United States provided the money and weapons, the training of militant groups was entirely done by the Pakistani Armed Forces and the ISI. [100] According to some CIA officers, beginning in early 1980, bin Laden acted as a liaison between the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency (GIP) and Afghan warlords, but no evidence of contact between the CIA and Bin Laden exists in the CIA archives. Steve Coll states that although bin Laden may not have been a formal, salaried GIP agent, "it seems clear that bin Laden did have a substantial relationship with Saudi intelligence." [101] Bin Laden's first trainer was U.S. Special Forces commando Ali Mohamed. [102]

By 1984, bin Laden and Azzam established Maktab al-Khidamat, which funneled money, arms, and fighters from around the Arab world into Afghanistan. Through al-Khadamat, bin Laden's inherited family fortune [103] paid for air tickets and accommodation, paid for paperwork with Pakistani authorities and provided other such services for the jihadi fighters. Bin Laden established camps inside Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan and trained volunteers from across the Muslim world to fight against the Soviet-backed regime, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Between 1986 and 1987, bin Laden set up a base in eastern Afghanistan for several dozen of his own Arab soldiers. [104] From this base, bin Laden participated in some combat activity against the Soviets, such as the Battle of Jaji in 1987. [104] Despite its little strategic significance, the battle was lionized in the mainstream Arab press. [104] It was during this time that he became idolised by many Arabs. [12]

1988 Gilgit massacre

In May 1988, responding to rumours of a massacre of Sunnis by Shias, large numbers of Shias from in and around Gilgit, Pakistan were killed in a massacre. [105] Shia civilians were also subjected to rape. [106]

The massacre is alleged by B. Raman, a founder of India's Research and Analysis Wing, [107] to have been in response to a revolt by the Shias of Gilgit during the rule of military dictator Zia-ul Haq. [108] He alleged that the Pakistan Army induced Osama bin Laden to lead an armed group of Sunni tribals, from Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier Province, into Gilgit and its surrounding areas to suppress the revolt. [109]

Formation and structuring of al-Qaeda

By 1988, bin Laden had split from Maktab al-Khidamat. While Azzam acted as support for Afghan fighters, bin Laden wanted a more military role. One of the main points leading to the split and the creation of al-Qaeda was Azzam's insistence that Arab fighters be integrated among the Afghan fighting groups instead of forming a separate fighting force. [110] Notes of a meeting of bin Laden and others on August 20, 1988 indicate that al-Qaeda was a formal group by that time: "Basically an organized Islamic faction, its goal is to lift the word of God, to make his religion victorious." A list of requirements for membership itemized the following: listening ability, good manners, obedience, and making a pledge (bayat) to follow one's superiors. [111]

According to Wright, the group's real name was not used in public pronouncements because its existence was still a closely held secret. [112] His research suggests that al-Qaeda was formed at an August 11, 1988, meeting between several senior leaders of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Abdullah Azzam, and bin Laden, where it was agreed to join bin Laden's money with the expertise of the Islamic Jihad organization and take up the jihadist cause elsewhere after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan. [113]

Following the Soviet Union's withdrawal from Afghanistan in February 1989, Osama bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia as a hero of jihad. [114] Along with his Arab legion, he was thought to have brought down the mighty superpower of the Soviet Union. [115] After his return to Saudi Arabia, bin Laden engaged in opposition movements to the Saudi monarchy while working for his family business. [114] He offered to send al-Qaeda to overthrow the Soviet-aligned Yemeni Socialist Party government in South Yemen but was rebuffed by Prince Turki bin Faisal. He then tried to disrupt the Yemeni unification process by assassinating YSP leaders but was halted by Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz after President Ali Abdullah Saleh complained to King Fahd. [116] He was also angered by the internecine tribal fighting among the Afghans. [12]

The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait under Saddam Hussein on August 2, 1990, put the Saudi kingdom and the royal family at risk. With Iraqi forces on the Saudi border, Saddam's appeal to pan-Arabism was potentially inciting internal dissent. One week after King Fahd agreed to U.S. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney's offer of American military assistance, Bin Laden met with King Fahd and Saudi Defense Minister Sultan, telling them not to depend on non-Muslim assistance from the United States and others and offering to help defend Saudi Arabia with his Arab legion. When Sultan asked how bin Laden would defend the fighters if Saddam used Iraqi chemical and biological weapons against them he replied "We will fight him with faith." [117] Bin Laden's offer was rebuffed, and the Saudi monarchy invited the deployment of U.S. forces in Saudi territory. [118]

Bin Laden publicly denounced Saudi dependence on the U.S. Armed Forces, arguing that the Quran prohibited non-Muslims from setting foot in the Arabian Peninsula and that two holiest shrines of Islam, Mecca and Medina, the cities in which the Islamic prophet Muhammad received and recited Allah's message, should only be defended by Muslims. Bin Laden tried to convince the Saudi ulama to issue a fatwa condemning the American military deployment but senior clerics refused out of fear of repression. [119] Bin Laden's criticism of the Saudi monarchy led them to try to silence him. The U.S. 82nd Airborne Division landed in the north-eastern Saudi city of Dhahran and was deployed in the desert barely 400 miles from Medina. [12]

Meanwhile, on November 8, 1990, the FBI raided the New Jersey home of El Sayyid Nosair, an associate of al-Qaeda operative Ali Mohamed. They discovered copious evidence of terrorist plots, including plans to blow up New York City skyscrapers. This marked the earliest discovery of al-Qaeda terrorist plans outside of Muslim countries. [120] Nosair was eventually convicted in connection to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and later admitted guilt for the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York City on November 5, 1990.

Move to Sudan

In 1991, bin Laden was expelled from Saudi Arabia by its regime after repeatedly criticizing the Saudi alliance with the United States. [114] [121] He and his followers moved first to Afghanistan and then relocated to Sudan by 1992, [114] [121] in a deal brokered by Ali Mohamed. [122] Bin Laden's personal security detail consisted of bodyguards personally selected by him. Their arsenal included SA-7, Stinger missiles, AK-47s, RPGs, and PK machine guns. [123] Meanwhile, in March–April 1992, bin Laden tried to play a pacifying role in the escalating civil war in Afghanistan, by urging warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to join the other mujahideen leaders negotiating a coalition government instead of trying to conquer Kabul for himself. [124]

U.S. intelligence monitored bin Laden in Sudan using operatives to run by daily and to photograph activities at his compound, and using an intelligence safe house and signals intelligence to surveil him and to record his moves. [125]

Sudan and return to Afghanistan

In Sudan, bin Laden established a new base for Mujahideen operations in Khartoum. He bought a house on Al-Mashtal Street in the affluent Al-Riyadh quarter and a retreat at Soba on the Blue Nile. [126] [127] During his time in Sudan, he heavily invested in the infrastructure, in agriculture and businesses. He was the Sudan agent for the British firm Hunting Surveys, [128] and built roads using the same bulldozers he had employed to construct mountain tracks in Afghanistan. Many of his labourers were the same fighters who had been his comrades in the war against the Soviet Union. He was generous to the poor and popular with the people. [129] [130] He continued to criticize King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. In response, in 1994 Fahd stripped bin Laden of his Saudi citizenship and persuaded his family to cut off his $7 million a year stipend. [131] [132]

By that time, bin Laden was being linked with Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), which made up the core of al-Qaeda. In 1995 the EIJ attempted to assassinate the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The attempt failed, and Sudan expelled the EIJ.

The U.S. State Department accused Sudan of being a sponsor of international terrorism and bin Laden of operating terrorist training camps in the Sudanese desert. However, according to Sudan officials, this stance became obsolete as the Islamist political leader Hassan al-Turabi lost influence in their country. The Sudanese wanted to engage with the U.S. but American officials refused to meet with them even after they had expelled bin Laden. It was not until 2000 that the State Department authorized U.S. intelligence officials to visit Sudan. [128]

In late 1995, when Bin Laden was still in Sudan, the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) learned that Sudanese officials were discussing with the Saudi government the possibility of expelling Bin Laden. CIA paramilitary officer Billy Waugh tracked down Bin Ladin in Sudan and prepared an operation to apprehend him, but was denied authorization. [133] U.S. Ambassador Timothy Carney encouraged the Sudanese to pursue this course. The Saudis, however, did not want Bin Laden, giving as their reason their revocation of his citizenship. Sudan's minister of defense, Fatih Erwa, has claimed that Sudan offered to hand Bin Laden over to the United States. The Commission has found no credible evidence that this was so. Ambassador Carney had instructions only to push the Sudanese to expel Bin Laden. Ambassador Carney had no legal basis to ask for more from the Sudanese since, at the time, there was no indictment outstanding against bin Laden in any country. [134]

The 9/11 Commission Report further states:

In February 1996, Sudanese officials began approaching officials from the United States and other governments, asking what actions of theirs might ease foreign pressure. In secret meetings with Saudi officials, Sudan offered to expel Bin Laden to Saudi Arabia and asked the Saudis to pardon him. U.S. officials became aware of these secret discussions, certainly by March. Saudi officials apparently wanted Bin Laden expelled from Sudan. They had already revoked his citizenship, however, and would not tolerate his presence in their country. Also Bin Laden may have no longer felt safe in Sudan, where he had already escaped at least one assassination attempt that he believed to have been the work of the Egyptian or Saudi regimes, and paid for by the CIA.

Due to the increasing pressure on Sudan from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United States, bin Laden was permitted to leave for a country of his choice. He chose to return to Jalalabad, Afghanistan aboard a chartered flight on May 18, 1996 there he forged a close relationship with Mullah Mohammed Omar. [135] [136] According to the 9/11 Commission, the expulsion from Sudan significantly weakened bin Laden and his organization. [137] Some African intelligence sources have argued that the expulsion left bin Laden without an option other than becoming a full-time radical, and that most of the 300 Afghan Arabs who left with him subsequently became terrorists. [128] Various sources report that bin Laden lost between $20 million [138] and $300 million [139] in Sudan the government seized his construction equipment, and bin Laden was forced to liquidate his businesses, land, and even his horses.

1996 Declaration of war and 1998 fatwa

In August 1996, bin Laden declared war against the United States. [140] Despite the assurance of President George H. W. Bush to King Fahd in 1990, that all U.S. forces based in Saudi Arabia would be withdrawn once the Iraqi threat had been dealt with, by 1996 the Americans were still there. Bush cited the necessity of dealing with the remnants of Saddam's regime (which Bush had chosen not to destroy). Bin Laden's view was that "the 'evils' of the Middle East arose from America's attempt to take over the region and from its support for Israel. Saudi Arabia had been turned into an American colony". [14]

In 1998 he issued a fatwā against the United States, which was first published in Al-Quds Al-Arabi, a London-based newspaper. It was entitled "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places". [141] Saudi Arabia is sometimes called "The Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Mecca and Medina, the two holiest places in Islam. The reference to occupation in the fatwā referred to US forces based in Saudi Arabia for the purpose of controlling air space in Iraq, known as Operation Southern Watch.

In Afghanistan, bin Laden and al-Qaeda raised money from donors from the days of the Soviet jihad, and from the Pakistani ISI to establish more training camps for Mujahideen fighters. [142] Bin Laden effectively took over Ariana Afghan Airlines, which ferried Islamic militants, arms, cash, and opium through the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, as well as provided false identifications to members of bin Laden's terrorist network. [143] The arms smuggler Viktor Bout helped to run the airline, maintaining planes and loading cargo. Michael Scheuer, head of the CIA's bin Laden unit, concluded that Ariana was being used as a terrorist taxi service. [144]

Early attacks and aid for attacks

It is believed that the first bombing attack involving bin Laden was the December 29, 1992, bombing of the Gold Mihor Hotel in Aden in which two people were killed. [114]

After this bombing, al-Qaeda was reported to have developed its justification for the killing of innocent people. According to a fatwa issued by Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, the killing of someone standing near the enemy is justified because any innocent bystander will find a proper reward in death, going to Jannah (paradise) if they were good Muslims and to Jahannam (hell) if they were bad or non-believers. [145] The fatwa was issued to al-Qaeda members but not the general public.

In the 1990s, bin Laden's al-Qaeda assisted jihadis financially and sometimes militarily in Algeria, Egypt, and Afghanistan. In 1992 or 1993, bin Laden sent an emissary, Qari el-Said, with $40,000 to Algeria to aid the Islamists and urge war rather than negotiation with the government. Their advice was heeded. The war that followed caused the deaths of 150,000–200,000 Algerians and ended with the Islamist surrender to the government. In January 1996, the CIA launched a new unit of its Counterterrorism Center (CTC) called Bin Laden Issue Station, code-named "Alec Station", to track and to carry out operations against Bin Laden's activities. Bin Laden Issue Station was headed by Michael Scheuer, a veteran of the Islamic Extremism Branch of the CTC. [146]

Late 1990s attacks

It has been claimed that bin Laden funded the Luxor massacre of November 17, 1997, [147] [148] [149] which killed 62 civilians, and outraged the Egyptian public. In mid-1997, the Northern Alliance threatened to overrun Jalalabad, causing bin Laden to abandon his Najim Jihad compound and move his operations to Tarnak Farms in the south. [150]

Another successful attack was carried out in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan. Bin Laden helped cement his alliance with the Taliban by sending several hundred Afghan Arab fighters along to help the Taliban kill between five and six thousand Hazaras overrunning the city. [151]

In February 1998, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri co-signed a fatwa in the name of the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, which declared the killing of North Americans and their allies an "individual duty for every Muslim" to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) and the holy mosque (in Mecca) from their grip. [152] [153] At the public announcement, fatwa bin Laden announced that North Americans are "very easy targets". He told the attending journalists, "You will see the results of this in a very short time." [154]

Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri organized an al-Qaeda congress on June 24, 1998. [155] The 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings were a series of attacks that occurred on August 7, 1998, in which hundreds of people were killed in simultaneous truck bomb explosions at the United States embassies in the major East African cities of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. [156] The attacks were linked to local members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, brought Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri to the attention of the United States public for the first time. Al-Qaeda later claimed responsibility for the bombings. [156]

In retaliation for the embassy bombings, President Bill Clinton ordered a series of cruise missile strikes on bin Laden-related targets in Sudan and Afghanistan on August 20, 1998. [156] In December 1998, the Director of Central Intelligence Counterterrorist Center reported to President Clinton that al-Qaeda was preparing for attacks in the United States of America, including the training of personnel to hijack aircraft. [157] On June 7, 1999, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation placed bin Laden on its Ten Most Wanted list. [158]

At the end of 2000, Richard Clarke revealed that Islamic militants headed by bin Laden had planned a triple attack on January 3, 2000, which would have included bombings in Jordan of the Radisson SAS Hotel in Amman, tourists at Mount Nebo, and a site on the Jordan River, as well as the sinking of the destroyer USS The Sullivans in Yemen, and an attack on a target within the United States. The plan was foiled by the arrest of the Jordanian terrorist cell, the sinking of the explosive-filled skiff intended to target the destroyer, and the arrest of Ahmed Ressam. [159]

Yugoslav Wars

A former U.S. State Department official in October 2001 described Bosnia and Herzegovina as a safe haven for terrorists, and asserted that militant elements of the former Sarajevo government were protecting extremists, some with ties to Osama bin Laden. [160] In 1997, Rzeczpospolita, one of the largest Polish daily newspapers, had reported that intelligence services of the Nordic-Polish SFOR Brigade suspected that a center for training terrorists from Islamic countries was located in the Bocina Donja village near Maglaj in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1992, hundreds of volunteers joined an all-mujahedeen unit called El Moujahed in an abandoned hillside factory, a compound with a hospital and prayer hall.

According to Middle East intelligence reports, bin Laden financed small convoys of recruits from the Arab world through his businesses in Sudan. Among them was Karim Said Atmani, who was identified by authorities as the document forger for a group of Algerians accused of plotting the bombings in the United States. [161] He is a former roommate of Ahmed Ressam, the man arrested at the Canada–United States border in mid-December 1999 with a car full of nitroglycerin and bomb-making materials. [162] [163] He was convicted of colluding with Osama bin Laden by a French court. [164]

A Bosnian government search of passport and residency records, conducted at the urging of the United States, revealed other former Mujahideen who were linked to the same Algerian group or to other groups of suspected terrorists, and had lived in the area 100 km (60 mi) north of Sarajevo, the capital, in the past few years. Khalil al-Deek was arrested in Jordan in late December 1999 on suspicion of involvement in a plot to blow up tourist sites. A second man with Bosnian citizenship, Hamid Aich, lived in Canada at the same time as Atmani and worked for a charity associated with Osama bin Laden. In its June 26, 1997, a report on the bombing of the Al Khobar building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, The New York Times noted that those arrested confessed to serving with Bosnian Muslim forces. Further, the captured men also admitted to ties with Osama bin Laden. [165] [166] [ verification needed ]

In 1999, the press reported that bin Laden and his Tunisian assistant Mehrez Aodouni were granted citizenship and Bosnian passports in 1993 by the government in Sarajevo. The Bosnian government denied this information following the September 11 attacks, but it was later found that Aodouni was arrested in Turkey and that at that time he possessed the Bosnian passport. Following this revelation, a new explanation was given that bin Laden did not personally collect his Bosnian passport and that officials at the Bosnian embassy in Vienna, which issued the passport, could not have known who bin Laden was at the time. [165] [166] [ verification needed ]

The Bosnian daily Oslobođenje published in 2001 that three men, believed to be linked to bin Laden, were arrested in Sarajevo in July 2001. The three, one of whom was identified as Imad El Misri, were Egyptian nationals. The paper said that two of the suspects were holding Bosnian passports. [ citation needed ]

SHISH's head Fatos Klosi said that Osama was running a terror network in Albania to take part in the Kosovo War under the guise of a humanitarian organisation and it was reported to have been started in 1994. Claude Kader, who was a member, testified its existence during his trial. [167] By 1998, four members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) were arrested in Albania and extradited to Egypt. [168] The mujahideen fighters were organised by Islamic leaders in Western Europe allied to him and Zawihiri. [169]

During his trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, former Serbian President Slobodan Milošević quoted from a purported FBI report that bin Laden's al-Qaeda had a presence in the Balkans and aided the Kosovo Liberation Army. He claimed bin Laden had used Albania as a launchpad for violence in the region and Europe. He claimed that they had informed Richard Holbrooke that KLA was being aided by al-Qaeda but the US decided to cooperate with the KLA and thus indirectly with Osama despite the 1998 United States embassy bombings earlier. Milošević had argued that the United States aided the terrorists, which culminated in its backing of the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War. [170] [171] [172] [173]

September 11 attacks

God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the Towers, but after the situation became unbearable—and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon—I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were that of 1982 and the events that followed—when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way: to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women.

After his initial denial, [175] [176] [177] in the wake of the attacks, bin Laden announced, "what the United States is tasting today is nothing compared to what we have tasted for decades. Our umma has known this humiliation and contempt for over eighty years. Its sons are killed, its blood is spilled, its holy sites are attacked, and it is not governed according to Allah's command. Despite this, no one cares". [178] In response to the attacks, the United States launched the War on Terror to depose the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and capture al-Qaeda operatives, and several countries strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation to preclude future attacks. The CIA's Special Activities Division was given the lead in tracking down and killing or capturing bin Laden. [179] The Federal Bureau of Investigation has stated that classified [180] evidence linking al-Qaeda and bin Laden to the September 11 attacks is clear and irrefutable. [181] The UK Government reached a similar conclusion regarding al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden's culpability for the September 11 attacks, although the government report noted that the evidence presented is not necessarily sufficient to prosecute the case. [182]

Bin Laden initially denied involvement in the attacks. On September 16, 2001, bin Laden read a statement later broadcast by Qatar's Al Jazeera satellite channel denying responsibility for the attack. [183] In a videotape recovered by U.S. forces in November 2001 in Jalalabad, bin Laden was seen discussing the attack with Khaled al-Harbi in a way that indicates foreknowledge. [184] The tape was broadcast on various news networks on December 13, 2001. The merits of this translation have been disputed. Arabist Dr. Abdel El M. Husseini stated: "This translation is very problematic. At the most important places where it is held to prove the guilt of bin Laden, it is not identical with the Arabic." [185]

In the 2004 video, bin Laden abandoned his denials without retracting past statements. In it he said he had personally directed the nineteen hijackers. [186] [187] In the 18-minute tape, played on Al-Jazeera, four days before the American presidential election, bin Laden accused U.S. President George W. Bush of negligence in the hijacking of the planes on September 11. [186] According to the tapes, bin Laden claimed he was inspired to destroy the World Trade Center after watching the destruction of towers in Lebanon by Israel during the 1982 Lebanon War. [188]

Through two other tapes aired by Al Jazeera in 2006, Osama bin Laden announced, "I am the one in charge of the nineteen brothers. . I was responsible for entrusting the nineteen brothers . with the raids" (May 23, 2006). [189] In the tapes he was seen with Ramzi bin al-Shibh, as well as two of the 9/11 hijackers, Hamza al-Ghamdi, and Wail al-Shehri, as they made preparations for the attacks (videotape broadcast September 7, 2006). [190] Identified motivations of the September 11 attacks include the support of Israel by the United States, presence of the U.S. military in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. enforcement of sanctions against Iraq.

On March 16, 1998, Libya issued the first official Interpol arrest warrant against bin Laden and three other people. They were charged for killing Silvan Becker, agent of Germany's domestic intelligence service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, in the Terrorism Department, and his wife Vera in Libya on March 10, 1994. [81] [191] Bin Laden was still wanted by the Libyan government at the time of his death. [192] [193] Osama bin Laden was first indicted by a grand jury of the United States on June 8, 1998 on a charges of conspiracy to attack defense utilities of the United States and prosecutors further charged that bin Laden was the head of the terrorist organization called al-Qaeda, and that he was a major financial backer of Islamic fighters worldwide. [194] On November 4, 1998, Osama bin Laden was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, on charges of Murder of U.S. Nationals Outside the United States, Conspiracy to Murder U.S. Nationals Outside the United States, and Attacks on a Federal Facility Resulting in Death [195] for his alleged role in the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The evidence against bin Laden included courtroom testimony by former al-Qaeda members and satellite phone records, from a phone purchased for him by al-Qaeda procurement agent Ziyad Khaleel in the United States. [196] [197] However the Taliban ruled not to extradite Bin Laden on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence published in the indictments and that non-Muslim courts lacked standing to try Muslims. [198]

Bin Laden became the 456th person listed on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, when he was added on June 7, 1999, following his indictment along with others for capital crimes in the 1998 embassy attacks. Attempts at assassination and requests for the extradition of bin Laden from the Taliban of Afghanistan were met with failure before the bombing of Afghanistan in October 2001. [199] In 1999, U.S. President Bill Clinton convinced the United Nations to impose sanctions against Afghanistan in an attempt to force the Taliban to extradite him. [200]

On October 10, 2001, bin Laden appeared as well on the initial list of the top 22 FBI Most Wanted Terrorists, which was released to the public by the President of the United States George W. Bush, in direct response to the September 11 attacks, but which was again based on the indictment for the 1998 embassy attack. Bin Laden was among a group of thirteen fugitive terrorists wanted on that latter list for questioning about the 1998 embassy bombings. Bin Laden remains the only fugitive ever to be listed on both FBI fugitive lists.

Despite the multiple indictments listed above and multiple requests, the Taliban refused to extradite Osama bin Laden. However, they did offer to try him before an Islamic court if evidence of Osama bin Laden's involvement in the September 11 attacks was provided. It was not until eight days after the bombing of Afghanistan began in October 2001 that the Taliban finally did offer to turn over Osama bin Laden to a third-party country for trial in return for the United States ending the bombing. This offer was rejected by President Bush stating that this was no longer negotiable, with Bush responding "there's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's guilty." [201]

On June 15, 2011, federal prosecutors of the United States of America officially dropped all criminal charges against Osama bin Laden following his death in May. [202]

Clinton administration

Capturing Osama bin Laden had been an objective of the United States government since the presidency of Bill Clinton. [203] Shortly after the September 11 attacks it was revealed that President Clinton had signed a directive authorizing the CIA (and specifically their elite Special Activities Division) to apprehend bin Laden and bring him to the United States to stand trial after the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Africa if taking bin Laden alive was deemed impossible, then deadly force was authorized. [204] On August 20, 1998, 66 cruise missiles launched by United States Navy ships in the Arabian Sea struck bin Laden's training camps near Khost in Afghanistan, missing him by a few hours. [205] In 1999 the CIA, together with Pakistani military intelligence, had prepared a team of approximately 60 Pakistani commandos to infiltrate Afghanistan to capture or kill bin Laden, but the plan was aborted by the 1999 Pakistani coup d'état [205] in 2000, foreign operatives working on behalf of the CIA had fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a convoy of vehicles in which bin Laden was traveling through the mountains of Afghanistan, hitting one of the vehicles but not the one in which bin Laden was riding. [204]

In 2000, before the September 11 attacks, Paul Bremer characterized the Clinton administration as correctly focused on bin Laden, while Robert Oakley criticized their obsession with Osama. [159]

Bush administration

Immediately after the September 11 attacks, U.S. government officials named bin Laden and the al-Qaeda organization as the prime suspects and offered a reward of $25 million for information leading to his capture or death. [28] [206] On July 13, 2007, the Senate voted to double the reward to $50 million, although the amount was never changed. [207] The Airline Pilots Association and the Air Transport Association offered an additional $2 million reward. [208]

According to The Washington Post, the U.S. government concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the Battle of Tora Bora, Afghanistan in late 2001, and according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge, failure by the United States to commit enough U.S. ground troops to hunt him led to his escape and was the gravest failure by the United States in the war against al-Qaeda. Intelligence officials assembled what they believed to be decisive evidence, from contemporary and subsequent interrogations and intercepted communications, that bin Laden began the Battle of Tora Bora inside the cave complex along Afghanistan's mountainous eastern border. [209]

The Washington Post also reported that the CIA unit composed of special operations paramilitary forces dedicated to capturing bin Laden was shut down in late 2005. [210]

U.S. and Afghanistan forces raided the mountain caves in Tora Bora between August 14–16, 2007. The military was drawn to the area after receiving intelligence of a pre-Ramadan meeting held by al-Qaeda members. After killing dozens of al-Qaeda and Taliban members, they did not find either Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri. [211]

Obama administration

On October 7, 2008, in the second presidential debate, on foreign policy, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama pledged, "We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al-Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority." [212] Upon being elected, then President-elect Obama expressed his plans to renew U.S. commitment to finding al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, according to his national security advisers in an effort to ratchet up the hunt for the terrorist. [212] President Obama rejected the Bush administration's policy on bin Laden that conflated all terror threats from al-Qaeda to Hamas to Hezbollah, replacing it with a covert, laserlike focus on al-Qaeda and its spawn. [213] [214]

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in December 2009 that officials had had no reliable information on bin Laden's whereabouts for years. One week later, General Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said in December 2009 that al-Qaeda would not be defeated unless its leader, Osama bin Laden, were captured or killed. Testifying to the U.S. Congress, he said that bin Laden had become an iconic figure, whose survival emboldens al-Qaeda as a franchising organization across the world, and that Obama's deployment of 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan meant that success would be possible. "I don't think that we can finally defeat al-Qaeda until he's captured or killed", McChrystal said of bin Laden. According to him, killing or capturing bin Laden would not spell the end of al-Qaeda, but the movement could not be eradicated while he remained at large. [215]

In April 2011, President Obama ordered a covert operation to kill or capture bin Laden. On May 2, 2011, the White House announced that SEAL Team Six had successfully carried out the operation, killing him in his Abbottabad compound in Pakistan. [216]

While referring to Osama bin Laden in a CNN film clip on September 17, 2001, then-President George W. Bush stated, "I want justice. There is an old poster out west, as I recall, that said, 'Wanted: Dead or alive'". [217] Subsequently, bin Laden retreated further from public contact to avoid capture. Numerous speculative press reports were issued about his whereabouts or even death some placed bin Laden in different locations during overlapping time periods. None were ever definitively proven. After military offensives in Afghanistan failed to uncover his whereabouts, Pakistan was regularly identified as his suspected hiding place. Some of the conflicting reports regarding bin Laden's whereabouts and mistaken claims about his death follow:

  • On December 11, 2005, a letter from Atiyah Abd al-Rahman to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi indicated that bin Laden and the al-Qaeda leadership were based in the Waziristan region of Pakistan at the time. In the letter, translated by the United States military's Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Atiyah instructs Zarqawi to send messengers to Waziristan so that they meet with the brothers of the leadership. Al-Rahman also indicates that bin Laden and al-Qaeda are weak and have many of their own problems. The letter has been deemed authentic by military and counterterrorism officials, according to The Washington Post. [218][219]
  • Al-Qaeda continued to release time-sensitive and professionally verified videos demonstrating bin Laden's continued survival, including in August 2007. [220] Bin Laden claimed sole responsibility for the September 11 attacks and specifically denied any prior knowledge of them by the Taliban or the Afghan people. [221]
  • In 2009, a research team led by Thomas W. Gillespie and John A. Agnew of UCLA used satellite-aided geographical analysis to pinpoint three compounds in Parachinar as bin Laden's likely hideouts. [222]
  • In March 2009, the New York Daily News reported that the hunt for bin Laden had centered in the Chitral District of Pakistan, including the Kalam Valley. Author Rohan Gunaratna stated that captured al-Qaeda leaders had confirmed that bin Laden was hiding in Chitral. [223]
  • In the first week of December 2009, a Taliban detainee in Pakistan said he had information that bin Laden was in Afghanistan in 2009. The detainee reported that in January or February (2009) he met a trusted contact who had seen bin Laden in Afghanistan about 15 to 20 days earlier. However, on December 6, 2009, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated that the United States had had no reliable information on the whereabouts of bin Laden in years. [224] Pakistan's Prime Minister Gillani rejected claims that Osama bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan. [225]
  • On December 9, 2009, BBC News reported that U.S. Army General Stanley A. McChrystal (Commander of U.S. and ISAF forces in Afghanistan from June 15, 2009 to June 23, 2010) emphasized the continued importance of the capture or killing of bin Laden, thus indicating that the U.S. high command believed that bin Laden was still alive. [226]
  • On February 2, 2010, Afghan president Hamid Karzai arrived in Saudi Arabia for an official visit. The agenda included a discussion of a possible Saudi role in Karzai's plan to reintegrate Taliban militants. During the visit, an anonymous official of the Saudi Foreign Affairs Ministry declared that the kingdom had no intention of getting involved in peacemaking in Afghanistan unless the Taliban severed ties with extremists and expelled Osama bin Laden. [227]
  • On June 7, 2010, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Seyassah reported that bin Laden was hiding out in the mountainous town of Sabzevar, in northeastern Iran. [228] On June 9, The Australian News' online edition repeated the claim. [229] This report turned out to be false.
  • On October 18, 2010, an unnamed NATO official suggested that bin Laden was alive, well, and living comfortably in Pakistan, protected by elements of the country's intelligence services. A senior Pakistani official denied the allegations and said that the accusations were designed to put pressure on the Pakistani government ahead of talks aimed at strengthening ties between Pakistan and the United States. [230]
  • On April 16, 2011, a leaked Al Jazeera report claimed that bin Laden had been captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. [231] This report turned out to be false.

On March 29, 2012, Pakistani newspaper Dawn acquired a report produced by Pakistani security officials, based on interrogation of his three surviving wives, that detailed his movements while living underground in Pakistan. [232]

In a 2010 letter, bin Laden chastised followers who had reinterpreted al-tatarrus—an Islamic doctrine meant to excuse the unintended killing of non-combatants in unusual circumstances—to justify routine massacres of Muslim civilians, which had turned Muslims against the extremist movement. Of the groups affiliated with al-Qaeda, Bin Laden condemned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan for an attack on members of a hostile tribe, declaring that the operation is not justified, as there were casualties of noncombatants. Bin Laden wrote that the tatarrus doctrine needs to be revisited based on the modern-day context and clear boundaries established. He asked a subordinate to draw up a jihadist code of conduct that would constrain military operations in order to avoid civilian casualties. In Yemen, Bin Laden urged his allies to seek a truce that would bring the country stability or would at least show the people that we are careful in keeping the Muslims safe on the basis of peace. In Somalia, he called attention to the extreme poverty caused by constant warfare, and he advised al-Shabab to pursue economic development. He instructed his followers around the world to focus on education and persuasion rather than entering into confrontations with Islamic political parties. [233]

Whereabouts just before his death

In April 2011, various U.S. intelligence outlets were able to pinpoint Bin Laden's suspected location near Abbottabad, Pakistan. It was previously believed that bin Laden was hiding near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, but he was found 160 km (100 mi) away in a three-story windowless mansion in Abbottabad at 34°10′9.51″N 73°14′32.78″E  /  34.1693083°N 73.2424389°E  / 34.1693083 73.2424389 . [234] [235] [236] Bin Laden's mansion was located 1.3 km (0.8 mi) southwest of the Pakistan Military Academy. [237] [238] [239] [240] Google Earth maps show that the compound was not present in 2001, but it was present in images taken in 2005. [241]

Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011, shortly after 1:00 AM local time (4:00 PM eastern time) [note 1] [242] [243] by a United States military special operations unit.

The operation, code-named Operation Neptune Spear, was ordered by United States President Barack Obama and carried out in a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operation by a team of United States Navy SEALs from the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (also known as DEVGRU or informally by its former name, SEAL Team Six) of the Joint Special Operations Command, [244] with support from CIA operatives on the ground. [245] [246] The raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad was launched from Afghanistan. [247] After the raid, reports at the time stated that U.S. forces had taken bin Laden's body to Afghanistan for positive identification, then buried it at sea, in accordance with Islamic law, within 24 hours of his death. [248] Subsequent reporting has called this account into question—citing, for example, the absence of evidence that there was an imam on board the USS Carl Vinson, where the burial was said to have taken place. [249]

Pakistani authorities later demolished the compound in February 2012 [250] to prevent it from becoming a neo-Islamist shrine. [251] [252] [253] [254] [255] [256] [ excessive citations ] In February 2013, Pakistan announced plans to build a ₨265 million PKR ($30 million USD) amusement park in the area, including the property of the former hideout. [257]

In an interview in 2019, Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan claimed that Pakistani intelligence led CIA to Osama bin Laden. [258] [259] [260] [261] [262] [263] [264]

Allegations of Pakistan-support protection of bin Laden

Bin Laden was killed within the fortified complex of buildings that were probably built for him, [265] and had reportedly been his home for at least five years. [266] [267] The compound was located less than a mile from Pakistan Military Academy and less than 100 kilometers' drive from Pakistan's capital. [245] [268] While the United States and Pakistan governments both claimed, and later maintained, that no Pakistani officials, including senior military leaders, knew bin Laden's whereabouts or had prior knowledge of the U.S. strike, [269] [270] Carlotta Gall, writing in The New York Times Magazine in 2014, reported that ISI Director General Ahmad Shuja Pasha knew of bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad. [271] In a 2015 London Review of Books article, investigative reporter Seymour M. Hersh asserted—citing U.S. sources—that bin Laden had been a prisoner of the ISI at the Abbottabad compound since 2006 that Pasha knew of the U.S. mission in advance, and authorized the helicopters delivering the SEALs to enter Pakistani airspace and that the CIA learned of bin Laden's whereabouts from a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer, who was paid an estimated $25 million for the information. [249] Both stories were denied by U.S. and Pakistani officials.

Mosharraf Zia, a leading Pakistani columnist, stated, "It seems deeply improbable that bin Laden could have been where he was killed without the knowledge of some parts of the Pakistani state." [272] Pakistan's United States envoy, Ambassador Husain Haqqani, promised a "full inquiry" into how Pakistani intelligence services could have failed to find bin Laden in a fortified compound so close to Islamabad. "Obviously bin Laden did have a support system", he said. "The issue is, was that support system within the government and the state of Pakistan, or within the society of Pakistan?" [273]

Others argued that bin Laden lived in the compound with a local family, and never used the internet or a mobile phone, which would have made him much easier to locate. [274] Pakistan's president Asif Ali Zardari denied that his country's security forces sheltered bin Laden, and called any supposed support for bin Laden by the Pakistani government baseless speculation. [275] [276] Government officials said that the country's limited resources had been committed to its war against the Pakistan Taliban, and other insurgents who posed an active threat to it, rather than to finding or sheltering bin Laden. [277]


Bin Laden Killed by U.S., Obama Announces

Reportedly, the terrorist mastermind was killed during a 40-minute firefight in the town of Abbottabad, Pakistan. After achieving the death of bin Laden, the American kill squad seized his body so that DNA tests may be conducted to verify his identity. According to early reports by ABC News, the U.S. military had the body in its possession, but subsequent reports announced that bin Laden’s body had been “buried at sea.”

During his address to the nation from the White House, President Obama explained that Osama bin Laden was killed by a small special operations team deployed from the Joint Special Operations Command forces in Pakistan working with intelligence supplied by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Early reports indicate that the American intelligence agents operating inside Pakistan have been effectively tracking the movements of bin Laden since August.

The story developed as media representatives were informed by the White House that the president would be delivering a speech of historic importance.

Finally, at 11:30 pm EDT, President Barack Obama began his address with the following narrative of the relevant sequence of events that led to the death of the man assumed to have planned the terrorist attacks on the United States carried out on September 11, 2001:

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound, in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama Bin Laden and took custody of his body.

Besides Osama bin Laden, there were three other people accompanying him at the compound in northern Pakistan where the successful mission was carried out. Reportedly, one of the other people was bin Laden’s eldest son.

No sooner had the President concluded his announcement then scores of people flooded the streets outside the White House and in Times Square in New York City, celebrating wildly and chanting “U.S.A.” The atmosphere was redolent of the madness of Mardi Gras or New Year’s Eve.

President Obama informed his two immediate predecessors of the death of the man who had for a decade eluded American special forces.

Former President George W. Bush said, “This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001.”

Former President Bill Clinton declared the successful mission to be “a profoundly important moment for people all over the world who want to build a common future of peace, freedom, and cooperation for our children.”


Osama Bin Laden Dead

Tonight, President Obama addressed the Nation to announce that the United States has killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda. Watch his full remarks here or read his full remarks below, and learn more from the transcript of the White House briefing call afterwards.

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory -- hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.

And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.

On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.

We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda -- an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.

Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.

And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.

Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.

Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must –- and we will -- remain vigilant at home and abroad.

As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.

Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.

Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.

The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.

So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.

Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.

We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.

Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.

And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.

The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Seated from left, James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, CIA Director Leon Panetta, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Vice President Joe Biden listen as President Barack Obama makes a statement on Osama Bin Laden in the East Room of the White House May 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


TimesCast | Afghan Reactions

The Times's Alissa J. Rubin on Afghan reactions to Osama bin Laden's death.

Mr. Obama called President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan to tell him about the strike after it was set in motion, and his advisers called their Pakistani counterparts. “They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations,” Mr. Obama said.

The city of Abbottabad where Bin Laden was found has had other known Al Qaeda presence in the past. A senior Indonesian militant, Umar Patek, was arrested there earlier this year. Mr. Patek was protected by a Qaeda operative, a clerk who worked undercover at the main post office, a signal that Al Qaeda may have had other operations in the area.

The Pakistani military cordoned off the roads and alleys leading to the compound Monday. But residents of the middle-class area who were reached by phone said they had not been suspicious about the residents of the house, despite its size and the fact that very few people ever seemed to leave the compound.

As the operation’s start approached, many American officials at the United States consulate in Peshawar, the capital of the northwest area of Pakistan, were told suddenly to depart last Friday, leaving behind only a core group of essential staff. The American officials said they had been told to leave because of fears of kidnapping but were not tipped off to the operation.

Analysts said Bin Laden’s death amounted to a double blow for Al Qaeda, after its sermons of anti-Western violence seemed to be rendered irrelevant by the wave of political upheaval rolling through the Arab world.

“It comes at a time when Al Qaeda’s narrative is already very much in doubt in the Arab world,” said Martin S. Indyk, vice president and director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. “Its narrative was that violence was the way to redeem Arab honor and dignity. But Osama bin Laden and his violence didn’t succeed in unseating anybody.”

Al Qaeda sympathizers reacted with disbelief, anger and in some cases talk of retribution. On a Web site considered an outlet for Qaeda messages, forum administrators deleted posts by users announcing Bin Laden’s death and demanded that members wait until the news was confirmed by Qaeda sources, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, an organization that monitors radicals.

Even so, SITE said, sympathizers on the forum posted messages calling Bin Laden a martyr and suggesting retaliation. “America will reap the same if the news is true and false,” said one message. “The lions will remain lions and will continue moving in the footsteps of Usama,” said another, using an alternate spelling of Bin Laden’s name.

In the United States, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy organization, said it welcomed Bin Laden’s death. “As we have stated repeatedly since the 9/11 terror attacks, Bin Laden never represented Muslims or Islam,” the group said in a statement. “In fact, in addition to the killing of thousands of Americans, he and Al Qaeda caused the deaths of countless Muslims worldwide.”

Mr. Obama called to inform his predecessor, George W. Bush, who started the war against Al Qaeda after Sept. 11, yet was frustrated in his efforts to capture Bin Laden “dead or alive,” as he once put it. Mr. Bush released a statement saying, “this momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001.”

“The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done,” he added.

Mr. Obama used similar language and warned that the war against terrorists had not ended. “We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies,” he said. “We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to Al Qaeda’s terror, justice has been done.”

The president was careful to add that, as Mr. Bush did during his presidency, the United States is not at war with Islam. “Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader he was a mass murderer of Muslims,” Mr. Obama said. “Indeed, Al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.”


Watch the video: ZERO DARK THIRTY Clip - Bin Laden Death 2012 Kathryn Bigelow (August 2022).