The interpreter’s hand-held radio crackled with the sound of intercepted Taliban transmissions, and he signaled the infantry patrol to wait while he translated. At 7 a.m. one morning late in the summer, peasants were already out scything wheat, with their children tending fields of pink and white poppies that would soon add to Afghanistan’s record-setting opium and heroin supplies. We were 9,000 feet up, in the hamlet of Larzab, in a remote part of Zabul province — the heart of Talibanland.
Could It Happen Again? Given the scale of the damage caused to the United States, the 9/11 attacks neither required much money to execute, nor did they take a large number of plotters. Terrorism is a cheap form of warfare–the first World Trade Center attack in 1993, for instance, only cost a few thousand dollars. […]
n New Year’s Eve in 1999, Islamist militants had plenty to celebrate. At the Taliban-controlled Kandahar airport, a planeload of hostages was being swapped for terrorists held in India. The hijackers–Kashmiri militants–had managed to secure the freedom of three key allies. Two, Maulana Masood Azhar and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, were Pakistani; but the third, a man named Omar Sheikh, was the scion of a wealthy British Pakistani family and had studied at the London School of Economics.
No event in recent times has produced as many explanations as the 11th September attacks five years ago. Within the space of an hour, al Qaeda inflicted more direct damage on the US than the Soviet Union had done throughout the cold war, a cataclysm seen by more people than any other event in history. Yet it took only 19 men armed with small knives to destroy the World Trade Centre, demolish a wing of the Pentagon and kill 3,000 people. This mismatch has led some—especially in the Muslim world—to seek a deus ex machina to explain what otherwise appears inexplicable. The usual suspects have been assembled on 9/11’s grassy knoll: the Jews were behind the attacks; the US government engineered them; the “Cheney-Bush energy junta” planned them so that they could grab the oil fields of central Asia, and so on.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — U.S. intelligence officials say Osama bin Laden is likely hiding in Pakistan, and the former head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit says the United States will have to be “extraordinarily lucky” to get the al Qaeda leader. “Sometimes you get lucky,” Michael Scheuer, who headed the CIA’s bin Laden unit from 1996-1999, told CNN. “But looking for Osama bin Laden in the Hindu Kush is not like looking for Eric Rudolph in North Carolina.”
CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen says the notion that Osama bin Laden once worked for the CIA is “simply a folk myth” and that there’s no shred of evidence to support such theories.
CNN.com asked users to send questions to Bergen as part of an upcoming documentary, “In the Footsteps of bin Laden,” which premieres on August 23 at 9 p.m. ET. Here are his answers:
The announcement in London yesterday of the dismantling of a major terror plot against American passenger flights between Britain and the U.S. provided fresh evidence that the threat of terrorism — whether inflicted by the militant jihadist movement al Qaeda or inspired by it — is still very much with us.
We asked Peter Bergen, one of the few Western journalists ever to meet Osama bin Laden, and Warren Bass, a former 9/11 Commission staffer who is now Book World’s nonfiction editor, to pick the best of the recent flood of books on terrorism.
The worst book of the year, is surely Diary of a Lost Girl: The Autobiography of Kola Boof. Boof, a Washington DC-raised Sudanese-American “womanist” poet, has garnered publicity with her claim that she was Osama bin Laden’s mistress in the mid-90s. In lurid prose she details her life as bin Laden’s moll. However, the book […]
The al Qaeda leader says that Sunnis in Iraq are experiencing annihilation. Bin Laden also says that the only way for them to win freedom is by “holding on to their jihad” and ousting the occupying power from Iraq.
Investigating America's Homegrown Terrorists
Friday, April, 28, 2017
Maxwell School, Syracuse NY
Monday, May, 01, 2017
“Journalism in Hostile Environments: Perspectives from the Field.” New America DC
Monday, May, 01, 2017
Bringing Hostages Home: Developing Effective American Strategy, New America DC
Thursday, May, 18, 2017
New America’s 2017 Annual Conference, Washington DC
Tuesday, June, 20, 2017
NCMS: The Society of Industrial Security Professionals, Anaheim CA.