Osama roamed around Afghanistan after 9/11


Al Qaeda supremo Osama bin Laden and his deputy spent a frantic three months travelling non-stop across Afghanistan after 9/11, according to secret US military files released by WikiLeaks. At some point before their escape from Tora Bora, Osama and his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri were said to have hosted a steady stream of visitors and ordered their followers to continue attacking Western targets from a makeshift headquarters at a secret guesthouse in or around Kabul, according to the Washington Post. Bin Laden had his fighters leave training camps and told some of his wives and other women and children to flee to neighbouring Pakistan.
On October 7, 2001, during the first days of the US-led bombing campaign of Afghanistan, bin Laden met with top Taliban official Mullah Mansour in the group’s spiritual homeland of Kandahar. Zawahiri accompanied him that month for a meeting with Jalaluddin Haqqani. Bin Laden then escaped to his Tora Bora refuge that November with Zawahiri and members of his security detail. He told his associates to “remain strong in their commitment to fight, to obey the leaders, to help the Taliban, and that it was a grave mistake and taboo to leave before the fight was completed,” the documents showed. In one sign of how desperate bin Laden had grown after narrowly escaping from the Tora Bora cave complex of eastern Afghanistan in mid-December 2001, the Al-Qaeda leader was so strapped for cash that he borrowed $7,000 from a protector.
‘Nuclear hellstorm’ if Osama caught
The mastermind of the 9/11 attacks warned that al Qaeda has hidden a nuclear bomb in Europe which will unleash a ‘nuclear hellstorm’ if Osama bin Laden is captured, leaked files revealed Monday. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told Guantanamo Bay interrogators that the terror group would detonate the nuclear device if the al Qaeda chief was captured or killed. Sheikh, captured in 2003 in Pakistan, also claims personally beheading US journalist Daniel Pearl and to have helped in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing killed six people. Der Spiegel noted that his confessions should be treated with caution as they could have been extracted through torture. Sheikh is known to have undergone the method known as ‘waterboarding’. Former US president George W Bush claimed in his memoirs that using the interrogation technique helped prevent planned attacks on Heathrow and London’s Canary Wharf business district.
Heathrow Airport was also a target
The terror group also planned to make a 9/11 style attack on London’s Heathrow Airport by crashing a hijacked airliner into one of the terminals files showed. His nuclear threat was revealed in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper while the German weekly Der Spiegel, also citing WikiLeaks, said Sheikh had told his interrogators that he had set up two cells for the purpose of attacking Heathrow, one with the aim of taking flying lessons in Kenya, while the other had been tasked with recruiting participants. He said the plot had been discussed several times at the highest level of al Qaeda. One component had involved the infiltration of ground staff at the airport, according to Der Spiegel. Another attack given the green light in late 2001 would have targeted the tallest buildings in California with hijacked airliners, Der Spiegel reported.
Many Gitmo inmates were innocent
The United States held hundreds of inmates who were either totally innocent or low-risk for years and released dozens of high-risk Guantanamo inmates, according to leaked files. The new leaks reveal that inmates were held without trial on the basis of often seriously flawed information, such as from mentally ill or otherwise unreliable co-detainees or statements from suspects who had been abused or tortured, The New York Times reported. At least 150 Guantanamo detainees were innocent Afghans or Pakistanis. US military analysts considered only 220 of all the suspects in the George W Bush-era war on terror ever detained at Guantanamo to be dangerous. Another 380 were deemed to be low-ranking foot soldiers who travelled to Afghanistan or were part of the Taliban. Meanwhile, about a third of the 600-some men, transferred to third countries, were branded high-risk before being released.
Australian planned to hijack Qantas plane
According to another leak, Mamdouh Habib, an Australian held as a high risk inmate at Guantanamo Bay, told Egyptian interrogators he planned to hijack a Qantas plane and trained some of the 9/11 attackers. Guantanamo officials said Habib was suspected of being a “money courier and a terrorist operations facilitator” with links to the 9/11 hijackers and conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing. He was arrested in Pakistan following the September 11 attacks in New York and held for six months in Egypt under the CIA’s controversial “extraordinary rendition” programme, where he made a series of sensational admissions. “While in the custody of the Egyptian Government, under extreme duress,” Habib boasted that he trained six of the 9/11 plotters in martial arts and “was en route to hijack a Qantas flight”, his leaked prison file said.