Manhunt for Osama bin Laden

Manhunt for Osama bin Laden

Coordinates: 18°N 66°E / 18°N 66°E / 18; 66Osama bin Laden, the founder and former leader of al-Qaeda, went into hiding following the start of the War in Afghanistan in order to avoid capture by the United States and/or its allies for his role in the September 11, 2001 attacks, and having been on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list since 1999. After evading capture at the Battle of Tora Bora in December 2001, his whereabouts became unclear, and various rumours about his health, continued role in al-Qaeda, and location were circulated. Bin Laden also released several video and audio recordings during this time.

In the decade following his disappearance, there were many attempts made by the United States government to locate bin Laden. In December 2009, U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal said that bin Laden would need to be "captured or killed" in order for the U.S. to "finally defeat al-Qaeda."

American intelligence officials discovered the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden by tracking one of his couriers. Information was collected from Guantánamo Bay detainees, who gave intelligence officers the courier's pseudonym as Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. In 2009, U.S. officials discovered that al-Kuwaiti lived in Abbottābad, Pakistan. CIA paramilitary operatives located al-Kuwaiti in August 2010 and followed him back to the Abbottabad compound, which led them to speculate it was bin Laden's location.

On May 1, 2011, United States Navy SEALs of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DevGru) carried out an assault on the compound on orders from U.S. President Barack Obama. During a 40-minute raid, bin Laden was killed by one bullet above the left eye and another to the chest. The SEALs overpowered the compound's remaining residents, killing several, and extracted bin Laden's body (which was subsequently buried at sea) as well as computer hard drives, documents, and other material.


  • 1 Bin Laden's life between 2001 and 2011
  • 2 Location and death of Osama bin Laden
    • 2.1 Tracking
    • 2.2 Identification attempt
    • 2.3 Location
    • 2.4 Death of Osama bin Laden
  • 3 Pakistan's alleged role
  • 4 Rumors and speculation about his whereabouts: 2001–2011
    • 4.1 2001
    • 4.2 2004
    • 4.3 2005
    • 4.4 2006
    • 4.5 2007
    • 4.6 2008
    • 4.7 2009
    • 4.8 2010
    • 4.9 2011
  • 5 In media
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Bin Laden's life between 2001 and 2011

Further information: Bin Laden Issue Station

New information of Bin Laden's location had been emerging since his death and the arrest of his wives. On the day of the 9/11 attacks, Bin Laden was at the Khaldan terrorist training camp near Khost, which he left during the night with several Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives after sending his wives and children away into Pakistan to hide out. Bin Laden arrived the following morning in Khandahar and lived in a Taliban-controlled safe house from September 12 to October 6, 2001. Shortly after the US-led war in Afghanistan began, Bin Laden traveled from Khandahar to Kabul where he lived in another Taliban safe house until November 12 when he was believed to have traveled to Jalalabad where he spent at least five days in another safe house. From Jalalabad, he traveled to the Tora Bora region where he hid out from November 17 to December 12. He is believed to have crossed the border into Pakistan sometime in January 2002 and spent time in various Al Qaeda safehouses in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan between January and April 2002.

According to one of his wives, Bin Laden was reunited with his family for first time after the 9/11 attacks in the second half of 2002 in Peshawar, the capital city of the Tribal Areas, where they lived for five mon... more

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