An IDC Report

(Compiled from Reuters and other media reports)

New Delhi, 04 May 2011

Osama bin Laden

The house in Abbotabad, Pakistan where he was killed

Photo of bedroom after his killing

Brief Life History

Born in Saudi Arabia in 1957, he was one of more than 50 children of Mohamed bin Laden, a millionaire businessman. He lost his father while still a boy -- killed in a plane crash, apparently due to an error by his US pilot.

Osama's first marriage, to a Syrian cousin, came at the age of 17, and he is reported to have at least 23 children from at least five wives. His family made its fortune in the oil-funded Saudi construction boom.

Osama was a shy boy and an average student, who took a degree in civil engineering.
He went to Pakistan soon after the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and raised funds at home before making his way to the Afghan front lines and developing militant training camps.

He helped to form al Qaeda ("The Base") in the dying days of the Soviet occupation. A book by U.S. writer Steve Coll, "The Bin Ladens", suggested that the death in 1988 of his extrovert half-brother Salem -- again in a plane crash -- was an important factor in Osama's radicalisation.

He condemned the presence in Saudi Arabia of U.S. troops sent to eject Iraqi forces from Kuwait after the 1990 invasion, and remained convinced that the Muslim world was the victim of international terrorism engineered by America. He called for a jihad against the United States, which had spent billions of dollars bankrolling the Afghan resistance in which he had fought.

Disowned by his family and stripped of Saudi citizenship, he moved first to Sudan in 1991 and later resurfaced in Afghanistan before the Taliban seized Kabul in 1996.

With his wealth, largesse and shared radical Muslim ideology, he soon eased his way into inner Taliban circles as they imposed their rigid interpretation of Islam.

From Afghanistan, bin Laden issued religious decrees against U.S. soldiers and ran training camps where militants were groomed for a global campaign of violence.

Recruits were drawn from Central, South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa and even Europe by their common hatred of the United States, Israel and moderate Muslim governments, as well as a desire for a more fundamentalist brand of Islam.

Osama bin Laden masterminded the deadliest militant attacks in history and then built a global network of allies to wage a "holy war" intended to outlive him.

The man behind the suicide hijack attacks of 9/11, was the nemesis of former President George W. Bush, who pledged to take him "dead or alive" and whose two terms were dominated by a "war on terror" against his al Qaeda network.

He was killed on Sunday 01 May 2011, in a firefight with U.S. forces in a luxurious hideout in Pakistan, ending a 10 years-long hunt for the mastermind of the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

The US stated that his body was recovered and after DNA and other tests, was given a sea burial after performing full Islamic rites on board USS carrier Carl Vinson somewhere in the North Arabian sea. The US has photographic evidence of his death but the photos have not been released so far.


Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot dead by US special forces, but he tried to resist and there was a "volatile firefight," the White House said Tuesday.

The revelation, likely to stoke anger in parts of the Muslim world, came from President Barack Obama's spokesman Jay Carney as he provided the most detailed account yet of the Sunday night raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

"In the room with bin Laden, a woman -- bin Laden's wife -- rushed the US assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed. Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed," Carney said.

The elite Navy SEALs came in on two helicopters.

"The team methodically cleared the compound moving from room to room in an operation lasting nearly 40 minutes," Carney said.

After media reports quoting officials describing it as a "kill operation," the White House spokesman was pressed hard to explain the apparent contradiction that bin Laden was unarmed but also resisted.

"We were prepared to capture him if that was possible," Carney said, without providing a clear explanation. "We expected a great deal of resistance and were met with a great deal of resistance."

When a journalist insisted: "He wasn't armed," Carney replied: "But there were many other people who were armed in the compound. There was a firefight."

"But not in that room," the journalist pressed.

"It was a highly volatile firefight. I'll point you to the department of defense for more details about it," Carney said.

In addition to the bin Laden family, two other families resided in the compound: one on the first floor of the bin Laden building and another in a second building,

"Of the 22 or so people in the room, 17 or so of them were noncombatants," Carney said.

The SEALs split into two: one team entering the bin Laden house on the first floor and working its way up to the third floor where the Al-Qaeda chief was, while the other team cleared the second building.

"On the first floor of bin Laden's building, two Al-Qaeda couriers were killed along with a woman who was killed in cross-fire," Carney said.

"Bin Laden and his family were found on the second and third floor of the building. There was concern that bin Laden would oppose the capture operation and indeed he resisted."

After the firefight, the "non-combatants were moved to a safe location as the damaged helicopter was detonated," Carney said. "The team departed the scene via helicopter to the USS Carl Vinson in the North Arabian Sea."

The White House spokesman also described the sea burial of bin Laden, which has been criticized as going against Islamic tradition by certain Muslim leaders.

"Aboard the USS Carl Vinson, the burial of bin Laden was done in conformance with Islamic precepts and practices," he said. "The deceased's body was washed and then placed in a white sheet.

"The body was placed in a weighted bag; a military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker," he continued.

"After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, and the deceased body eased into the sea."



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. ..... Justice has been done.

India's foreign ministry

The world must not let down its united effort to overcome terrorism and eliminate the safe havens and sanctuaries that have been provided to terrorists in our own.

Nicolas Sarkozy, French President

The scourge of terrorism has suffered a historic defeat but it's not the end of al-Qaeda

Hamid Karzai, Afghan President

The American forces yesterday killed Osama Bin Laden and made him pay for his deeds, in Abbottabad city of Pakistan, close to Islamabad. He was made to pay for his actions.


The news that Osama Bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world. Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the worst terrorist atrocities the world has seen - for 9/11 and for so many attacks, which have cost thousands of lives, many of them British."

And he added, "It is a great success that he has been found and will no longer be able to pursue his campaign of global terror. This is a time to remember all those murdered by Osama Bin Laden, and all those who lost loved ones. It is also a time too to thank all those who work round the clock to keep us safe from terrorism. Their work will continue." He congratulated President Obama and those responsible for carrying out the operation.


First, I want to offer my thoughts and prayers to the thousands of families whose loved ones were killed in Usama bin Ladin’s campaign of terror and violence, from the embassy bombings in Africa, to the strike on the U.S.S. Cole, to the attacks of September 11, 2001, and so many more. These were not just attacks against Americans, although we suffered grievous losses; these were attacks against the whole world. In London and Madrid, Bali, Istanbul, and many other places, innocent people – most of them Muslims – were targeted in markets and mosques, in subway stations, and on airplanes, each attack motivated by a violent ideology that holds no value for human life or regard for human dignity. I know that nothing can make up for the loss of the victims or fill the voids they left, but I hope their families can now find some comfort in the fact that justice has been served.

Second, I want to join the President in honoring the courage and commitment of the brave men and women who serve our country and have worked tirelessly and relentlessly for more than a decade to track down and bring Usama bin Ladin, this terrorist, to justice. From our troops and our intelligence experts, to our diplomats and our law enforcement officials, this has been a broad, deep, very impressive effort.


The Chinese government issued a statement over bin Laden's death, hailing his killing as “a milestone and a positive development for the international anti-terrorism efforts”.

China, the statement said, was also “a victim of terrorism.” “China upholds that the international community should step up cooperation in working together to fight terrorism,” it said. “China believes that it is necessary to seek both a temporary solution and a permanent cure in fighting terrorism and to make great efforts to eliminate the soil on which terrorism relies to breed.” The Chinese Foreign Ministry rejected claims that its long-term strategic ally had not done enough to clamp down on terror groups operating on its soil — a suggestion that has been reinforced following the killing of the al-Qaeda leader in a mansion located only a stone's throw away from one of the country's top military academies in Abbottabad.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said China believed the Pakistani military establishment was unaware of the presence of bin Laden.

“We have to admit that the Pakistan government is firm in resolve and strong in action in its fight against terrorism, and the Pakistan government has made important contributions to the international fight against terrorism, to which we should have no doubt,” she said.


"Obviously his (Osama bin Laden) supporters wherever they are, they would try to stage some sort of protest, but I don't really expect any sort of large protests.

"The common Pakistani is so hard-pressed right now because of the other problems and there is only a small portion of support for Osama bin Laden, because of the way this has affected the country in the last 10 years."

"For some time there will be a lot of tension between Washington and Islamabad because bin Laden seems to have been living here close to Islamabad. If the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) had known then somebody within the ISI must have leaked this information. Pakistan will have to do a lot of damage control because the Americans have been reporting he is in Pakistan and he turns out to be in Islamabad. This is a serious blow to the credibility of Pakistan."


"Are the Pakistanis now going to claim they did not know he was there in their country? Either they are incompetent or complicit in this.

"This is between the U.S. and Pakistan. (In India) we'll be amused observers of Pakistan's mute protestations."


The killing of Osama bin Laden by a U.S. strike team in Pakistan rid the world of one of its worst mass murderers in recent memory. That's a historic accomplishment for our nation, the Obama administration and the global struggle against terrorism. Bin Laden's death does not end terrorism, of course, and we must remain vigilant against al-Qaida's efforts to retaliate. But his killing sends a clear message to terrorists around the world -- that no matter how hard they try to hide, they will not escape justice.


It’s important to note that Bin Laden is dead, but Al-Qaida still lives.

"What was done by the Americans is forbidden by Islam and might provoke some Muslims," said another Islamic scholar from Iraq, Abdul-Sattar al-Janabi, who preaches at Baghdad's famous Abu Hanifa mosque.

"It is not acceptable and it is almost a crime to throw the body of a Muslim man into the sea. The body of bin Laden should have been handed over to his family to look for a country or land to bury him."

Many people have been vocal about their thoughts on the sea burial. One Washingtonian said, “They can behead a westerner and drag them down the street and we conduct a burial at sea and its evokes anger. WOW Talk about double standard.”

Another said, “It is significant that Obama and his military didn’t keep Pakistan in the loop. They only told them about it AFTER it happened. It only shows how "loyal" he thinks our Pakistani "allies" really are.”


"Although he (bin Laden) may be dead, trans-national terrorism will not die with him. His ideology and doctrine remains relevant to global jihadists. Al-Qaeda central's influence has been on the decline for the last 5 years.

"It is not a surprise that bin Laden was captured in an urban heartland. Many of al-Qaeda's senior leaders have been captured in Pakistani cities. It had become a myth that the al Qaeda leadership were hiding in caves in the tribal areas.

"Al Qaeda has faced challenges in terms of being operationally confined because of the drone strikes as well being unable to replenish its ranks.

"Al Qaeda's trans-national role has gradually ceded to other emerging terrorist groups like al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Lashkar e Taiba. It's important to remember that al Qaeda's deputy Ayman al-Zawahri is still at large and his role in articulating the organisation's agenda remains intact.

"The possibility of reprisals also remains a serious reality although it may not happen instantly."


Pakistan’s arch-rival, India, was quick to comment, saying the news underlined its “concern that terrorists belonging to different organisations find sanctuary in Pakistan”.
“For some time there will be a lot of tension between Washington and Islamabad because bin Laden seems to have been living here close to Islamabad,” said Imtiaz Gul, a Pakistani security analyst.
“If the ISI had known, then somebody within the ISI must have leaked this information,” Gul said. “Pakistan will have to do a lot of damage control because the Americans have been reporting he is in Pakistan … this is a serious blow to the credibility of Pakistan.”


"I'm not really surprised that this happened, this was long overdue. I expected this to happen after 9/11. This is a very proud time in the name of history.

"Osama had started off with moderate opposition but then he took a wrong turn along the way. The Arab people today took the right turn. Three months ago I would say that his death would not be so glorified, but it came at the right time. The people at Tahrir square had shutdown the ideas and concepts of bin Laden. This was the right time to end this unfortunate turn, Al Qaeda is not the norm of Arab or Muslim politics.

"This is a relief for Saudi Arabia. There are some elements of al Qaeda in Yemen, but the Yemeni people showed the world that they are a peaceful people, by holding peaceful demonstrations in an effort to oust their president. He was a close friend of mine and I felt sorry for him a long time ago, he gave in to his anger which was his biggest weakness. I guess that's what he wanted and what he expected to happen in the end."


CAIRO: Foreign Minister Nabil El-Araby said on Monday he has "no comment" to offer on the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but insisted that Cairo was against "any form of violence."

"When it comes to the declared death of bin Laden, Egypt is against all kinds of violence. The Egyptian government does not have a comment" on the killing, El-Araby said after meeting his British counterpart William Hague.


"Bin Laden's death is a significant victory for the United States. But it is more symbolic than concrete.

"The world had already moved beyond bin Laden and al Qaeda. Operationally al Qaeda's command and control had been crippled and their top leaders had either been arrested or killed.

"There are no more than 300 members of al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afganistan, according to Western intelligence.

"More importantly al Qaeda has lost the struggle for hearts and minds in the Arab world and elsewhere and has had trouble attracting followers and skilled recruits.

"Now, the Arab revolutions have dealt a fatal blow to al Qaeda's ideology. The Arab revolutions had exposed al Qaeda's irrelevance to the concrete challenges facing Arab societies.

"It also brings closure. Al Qaeda has really taken hold on the U.S. imagination and bin Laden's death now brings closure for Americans, and it also signals closure for the war on terror which has exacted an enormous toll on the West."


"The main effect will be a loss of al Qaeda morale in the long term. It is bad for al Qaeda and the jihadi movements. Bin Laden was a symbol of al Qaeda's longevity and its defiance of the West.

"Now that symbol is gone and his martyrdom is not going to be as powerful a rallying cry, because there are already so many martyrs in the jihadi movements. For example the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq dealt a blow to his group, al Qaeda in Iraq, and it was not given new impetus by his death.

"So bin Laden's death compounds al Qaeda's decline. But I don't think this affects the Taliban insurgency."


Indyk described bin Laden's death as "a body blow" to al Qaeda.

"Their narrative is that violence and terrorism is the way to redeem Arab dignity and rights and what the people in the streets across the Arab world are doing is redeeming their rights and their dignity through peaceful protests, nonviolent protests -- the exact opposite of what al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden has been preaching.

"He hasn't managed to overthrow any government, and they are overthrowing one after the other. I would say that the combination of the two puts al Qaeda in real crisis."


"This is an incredible moment that has come after a long pursuit, with lots of resources and time invested. It is important to remember that before we project to the future (what this means), it is first and foremost justice delivered.

"It changes little in terms of on-the-ground realities -- by the time of his death, bin Laden was not delivering operational or tactical orders to the numerous al Qaeda affiliates across the world or the rising crop of "inspired" individuals.

"Its ultimate significance will be on a strategic/symbolic level. It's incumbent on the Obama administration to seize on this moment, especially amid the popular uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa. Bin Laden's death will not necessarily ensure the end of al Qaeda, but his death gives the international community an opportunity to end al Qaeda, as it could never be terminated without his death.

"Also, it is important in terms of what it could inspire in retaliation. The U.S. and its allies must be particularly vigilant in the following days, weeks, and perhaps, months as al Qaeda sympathizers and affiliates react to his death.


"I don't think this will change much. Osama bin Laden doesn't have an operational effect on the insurgency in Afghanistan, or on global terrorism. But if Obama is smart, he'll use this to declare a victory of sorts and push for a bigger, faster draw down.

"The real work starts now; if he really was killed in Islamabad, that's a big deal. (The government of Pakistan and the Inter Services Intelligence have) a lot of explaining to do if true."


"I think it (bin Laden's death) will have more of an impact on the United States and Pakistan and the strategic direction of the war in Afghanistan, rather than al Qaeda.

"There will be tremendous political pressure in the United withdraw from Afghanistan. But with al Qaeda terrorist attacks continuing, nothing really needs to change."

While bin Laden was al Qaeda's head, its second in command Ayman al-Zawahri was in charge of terrorist operations.

"I don't imagine that al Qaeda's violence will stop. If any thing, I think it will continue because its violence, after bin Laden's death, will become even more of a brand," she said.

If bin Laden's death was the result of a joint U.S./Pakistan operation it will ease tensions between Washington and Islamabad, said Farrall.


"It's a major tactical victory for the U.S. security community, but I expect that the disruption to al Qaeda terror operations will be temporary. I still don't see the end yet for global Islamist militancy."

"Osama bin Laden is a global symbol of Islamist extremism but there could be other militants lining up to replace him.

"He had established a wide network moving independently but with the same goal in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and even in Southeast Asia."


"This is a giant political plus for Barack Obama."

"Almost 100 percent of Obama's political enemies will cheer him for this one. Imagine the 2012 TV ad."

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