Osama Bin Laden – End of Chapter.

So atlast OSAMA one of the top ten Most Wanted Men of FBI is dead now. Not in a cave in Tora Bora, not in the hills of Afghanistan, not in the tribal areas, not even in a rural outpost, but in Abottabad – a city of a lakh of people, 50 km northeast of Pakistan’s national capital – is where the “Most wanted man” in the world was found and eliminated.Even in Abbotabad, not in a decrepit, unmarked facility, but in a million-dollar mansion on a hill, protected by 12-foot walls and barbed wires. A facility reportedly built in 2005 specifically for Osama.

Though it is not yet clear how long Osama has been residence in this particular hideout, it is well nigh impossible and inconceivable that the “world’s most wanted” man was living right under the nose of the Pakistani security establishment, without official help and complicity at the highest levels.
For the greater part of the last decade, Pakistani leaders have maintained that Osama was not on Pakistani soil; and pointed to the inhospitable mountains and tribal regions of Afghanistan where the mastermind behind 9/11 could be found. That is, if he was indeed alive!

But speculation among the intelligence and strategic circles has been rife for some time now that Osama is, more probably than not, in one of the safe houses of the Pakistani ISI. The southern port city of Karachi was speculated as the most likely safe haven.Protected by the Pakistani intelligence – as a strategic asset for bargaining with Americans and the West; as also due to the ideological affinities some of the radicalised members of Islamabad’s security apparatus had developed for the Al Qaeda and other Jehadi groups operating from the Pakistani soil.

The perception among security experts that Osama could be indeed in an urban safe house in Pakistan was strengthened when the some of the top guns of Al Qaeda were indeed found hiding, not in the tribal areas, but in densely populated urban hideouts. For instance, Abu Zubaidah in Faislabad in Punjab, Ramzi Binalshibh in Karachi and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (considered by 9/11 Commission as “the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks”) in Rawalpindi. So in the coming days, the question will be asked: How did ‘America’s enemy no. 1’ come to be living just 50 or so kilometres from Pakistan’s capital without the intelligence agencies getting a whiff of it? Or, is it that the “most wanted man in the world” was emboldened to venture so “deep inside” Pakistan because he was officially protected and nurtured by elements of the ISI?

So far, this $50 million question (that is the quantum of reward offered by the US for Osama’s head) has so far been only articulated by the Indian home minister P Chidambaram who went promptly to the heart of the matter. The fact that Osama was found “deep inside Pakistan”, the Indian Home Minister said, “underlines our concern that terrorists belonging to different organisations find sanctuary in Pakistan.” “We believe that the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attack, including the controllers and handlers of the terrorists who actually carried out the attack, continue to be sheltered in Pakistan”, and called for them to be handed over. These and similar questions are likely to be asked in the coming days. Pakistan, and its security and military establishment, has much to answer for!

Criminal charges

On March 16, 1998, Libya issued the first official Interpol arrest warrant against Bin Laden and three other people for killing two German citizens in Libya on March 10, 1994, one of which is thought to have been a German counter-intelligence officer. Bin Laden was still wanted by the Libyan government.Osama bin Laden was first indicted by the United States on June 8, 1998, when a grand jury indicted Osama bin Laden on charges of killing five Americans and two Indians in the November 14, 1995 truck bombing of a US-operated Saudi National Guard training center in Riyadh.

Bin Laden was charged with “conspiracy to attack defense utilities of the United States” and prosecutors further charged that bin Laden is the head of the terrorist organization called al Qaeda, and that he was a major financial backer of Islamic fighters worldwide.[118] Bin Laden denied involvement but praised the attack. 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 US Nationals Outside the United States, Conspiracy to Murder US Nationals Outside the United States, and Attacks on a Federal Facility Resulting in Deathfor 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 U.S.

Bin Laden became the 456th person listed on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, when he was added to the list 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 prior to the bombing of Afghanistan in October 2001. In 1999, US President Bill Clinton convinced the United Nations to impose sanctions against Afghanistan in an attempt to force the Taliban to extradite him.

Years later, 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 attacks of 9/11, 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. It wasn’t until 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 US ending the bombing and providing evidence that Osama bin Laden was involved in the 9/11 attacks. This offer was rejected by George W Bush stating that this was no longer negotiable with Bush responding that “There’s no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he’s guilty.”

Attempted capture by the United States

Clinton administration

Capturing Osama bin Laden had been an objective of the United States government since the presidency of Bill Clinton. 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. 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, narrowly missing him by a few hours. 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’Ă©tat;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.

In 2000, prior to the September 11 attacks, Paul Bremer characterized the Clinton administration as “correctly focused on bin Laden”, while Robert Oakley criticized their “obsession with Osama”.

Bush administration

According to The Washington Post, the US 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 US to commit enough US ground troops to hunt him led to his escape and was the gravest failure by the US in the war against al Qaeda. Intelligence officials have assembled what they believe 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.

The Washington Post also reported that the CIA unit composed of their special operations paramilitary forces dedicated to capturing Osama was shut down in late 2005.

US 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.

Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, US 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.On July 13, 2007, this figure was doubled to $50 million.

The Airline Pilots Association and the Air Transport Association had offered an additional $2 million reward.

Obama administration

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 will not be defeated unless its leader, Osama Bin Laden, is captured or killed. Testifying to the U.S. Congress, he said 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. “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.”

Source : MSN India , Wikipedia

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