Washington, May 12: Forced into deep cover by relentless US pressure and his dreaded group fragmenting, slain Osama bin Laden was planning attacks on America and Europe till his last moments, al-Qaeda chief's hand-written journals seized from his Abbottabad hideout have revealed.
Not only was he plotting fresh strikes, but was also in touch with his top operational commanders through human couriers, contrary to earlier intelligence estimates of bin Laden's being cut off and isolated from the terror frontline. According to American intelligence officials involved in analyzing the huge cache of materials recovered from the Abbottabad compound where bin Laden spent his last five years before being killed by US forces on May 2, he had never lost control of his terror group as the files reveal his imprint in every recent major al-Qaeda threats and attacks.
Intelligence officials familiar with the information being obtained from these huge cache of material—that can make a small college library—observed that bin Laden was more eager to motivate his cadres for large scale attacks in the US and the other European countries that killed thousands, rather those in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Both New York and Washington are mentioned in his target list, officials said, adding that he also asked his commanders to target other smaller cities as well. “Spread out the targets,” was his message.
He was particularly focused on targeting rail roads, and other critical infrastructure that would have resulted in large scale casualties.
Even as if he appeared in a self-imposed prison for five years in a mansion in Abbottabad without any internet and telephone, bin Laden was connected with his deputies and a small group of commanders and communicated with them on a regular basis through an well-oiled network of couriers. There are also enough evidence of him communicating with the Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda.
“There are strong indications there is back and forth with other terrorists,” an intelligence official was quoted as saying by the CNN.Officials said there is evidence of two-way written communications demonstrating that not only was bin Laden sending messages, he was getting responses as well.
The information shatters the government's conventional thinking about bin Laden, who had been regarded for years as mostly an inspirational figurehead whose years in hiding made him too marginalized to maintain operational control of the organization he founded, Fox News reported.
A US official familiar with the data review said that based on the records, bin Laden also seemed to have placed a low priority on operations inside Afghanistan and Pakistan, urging his network to focus on efforts that will “make America weak, using Latinos and African Americans, people who are oppressed in the United States,” The Washington Post reported. So far, The Post reported that there has been no evidence, through these documents, of any contact between bin Laden and the ISI or the Pakistani military.
Meanwhile, US officials said Pakistan has not shared with the US other materials left out at the Abbottabad compound which could not be picked up its forces during the
raid that killed bin Laden. PTI