Pathway to 9/11: How bin Laden arrived to mastermind the devastating terror attacks

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Usama bin Laden cultivated his popularity as a terror mastermind in the many years prior to Sept. 11, leaving bodies strewn throughout continents and continuously landing on the CIA’s radar. The devastating assaults on New York City’s Twin Towers and the Pentagon would propel the United States into its longest war in heritage and solidify bin Laden’s grisly legacy.

“As a previous Marine Corps officer, my vocation of eight many years was extremely substantially defined by the Sept. 11 assaults,” creator and former CIA paramilitary officer Elliot Ackerman explained to Fox Information.

Bin Laden’s journey to getting a person of the most infamous jihadist leaders of all time started to choose shape in 1979. At the urging of his mentor Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, bin Laden dropped out off faculty and still left Saudi Arabia to join the jihad versus the Soviets who experienced invaded Afghanistan, Ackerman said. The son of a wealthy development magnate and shut friend of the Saudi royal household, bin Laden’s purpose was generally to fund education of new mujahideen, a time period describing guerillas who fight on behalf of Islam.

Azzam and bin Laden went on to enable discovered al Qaeda — which interprets to “The Foundation” — in 1989. The Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan the exact same calendar year and bin Laden returned to his property state a hero, Ackerman reported. But bin Laden and his former mentor soon ended up on opposing sides of a violent discussion about the long term of jihad.

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“We get started to see the definition of what al Qaeda and several jihadists expression as the ‘near enemy’ as opposed to the ‘far enemy,’” Ackerman mentioned. “The ‘near enemy’ ended up the authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, like the regime of Saddam Hussein, or even the Saudi royal family, which a lot of jihadists felt were being corrupt and desired to be toppled. The ‘far enemy’ was viewed as the Western democracies, foremost among them the United States, that propped up these despotic regimes in the Middle East.”

Azzam needed to focus on the “near enemy,” but bin Laden experienced his sights set on the West. On Nov. 24, 1989, a automobile bomb in Peshawar, Pakistan, killed Azzam, correctly ending the discussion. Authorities under no circumstances discovered a definitive culprit.

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On Aug. 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Fearing Saddam Hussein would press his troops into Saudi Arabia up coming, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud accepted navy aid from the United States.

“This sales opportunities to a profound schism in between bin Laden and the Saudi royal spouse and children,” Ackerman claimed. “What bin Laden wishes is to use his jihadists, his holy warriors, to liberate Kuwait. And he is staunchly towards any sort of exterior intervention by the United States and the West.”

As the Gulf War was being waged, al Qaeda continued to actively perform on a worldwide scale. On Nov. 8, 1990, the FBI raided the New Jersey household of El Sayyid Nosair times following the slaying of Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the Jewish Protection League. The FBI stated Nosair “assassinated” Kahane, whilst Nosair was acquitted of murder and alternatively convicted of lesser linked rates. Nosair was an affiliate of al Qaeda member Ali Mohamed.

“[The FBI found] in depth proof of terrorist plots, such as designs that echo the 9/11 attacks, which are to blow up New York Town skyscrapers,” Ackerman mentioned.

Saudi Arabia expelled bin Laden in 1991 for his recurring criticism of the U.S.-Saudi alliance. The Saudi govt would finally revoke his citizenship and influence his loved ones to slash him off.


Usama bin Laden speaks to the journalists in Khost, Afghanistan, in 1998

Usama bin Laden speaks to the journalists in Khost, Afghanistan, in 1998
(Image by Mazhar Ali Khan/AP)

Bin Laden and his followers moved very first to Afghanistan, then to Sudan in a offer orchestrated by Mohamed, the identical gentleman with ties to Nosair. Bin Laden recognized a base for mujahedeen fighters and commenced planning his initial major assault.

On Dec. 29, 1992, al Qaeda operatives detonated a bomb at a lodge in Aden, Yemen. U.S. troops had been keeping at the lodge en route to a humanitarian mission in Somalia and ended up the concentrate on of the attack, but they had already remaining by the time the bomb went off. Two civilians have been killed.

Two months later, on Feb. 26, 1993, a truck bomb detonated underneath the north tower of the Earth Trade Centre in New York Metropolis. While the bombing poorly harmed both structures, killing six persons and injuring more than 1,000, it was intended to topple equally towers, which could have killed tens of countless numbers of folks.

Nosair served prepare the assault whilst however in jail, functioning in conjunction with Ramzi Yousef, Ackerman said. Both equally adult men are believed to have been fiscally joined to bin Laden.


At truck bomb exploded at a U.S. military complex in Saudi Arabia, destroying Khobar Towers June 25, 1996.

At truck bomb exploded at a U.S. military services intricate in Saudi Arabia, destroying Khobar Towers June 25, 1996.
(AP Image/Saleh Rifai)

The next key attack came on June 25, 1996, when a truck bomb detonated close to barracks in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, that ended up housing U.S. Air Force personnel. The blast killed 19 airmen and wounded 498 others, including some Saudi nationals and foreign guests. The attack was officially pinned on Hezbollah and Iran, Ackerman claimed, but bin Laden and al Qaeda claimed obligation.

On Aug. 7, 1998, al Qaeda struck two U.S. embassies with simultaneous explosions. In Nairobi, Kenya, 213 persons died and a lot more than 4,500 had been injured. In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 11 died and 85 had been hurt.

“Al Qaeda carries on to focus on U.S. interests abroad, culminating in October of 2000 when associates of al Qaeda attacked the USS Cole,” Ackerman stated.


The ship was ported in Aden, Yemen, when al Qaeda operatives approached it in a smaller sized boat, packed with explosives. The blast killed 17 sailors and injured dozens much more.

“By the time bin Laden and his associates attacked the Cole, CIA by now experienced in area programs to destroy bin Laden,” Ackerman mentioned. “Having said that, the Clinton administration by no means greenlit these plans, and in the times prior to Sept. 11, they remained on the cabinets.”

Firefighters make their way over the ruins of the World Trade Center through clouds of smoke Oct. 11, 2001, in New York City. Nearly 3,000 people were killed when al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four planes on Sept. 11, 2001.

Firefighters make their way in excess of the ruins of the Globe Trade Heart as a result of clouds of smoke Oct. 11, 2001, in New York Town. Just about 3,000 people ended up killed when al Qaeda terrorists hijacked 4 planes on Sept. 11, 2001.
(AP Picture/Stan Honda)

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Afghan politician and longtime mujahedeen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud tried using to warn the U.S. about bin Laden in early 2001, in accordance to partially-redacted government information. Massoud experienced “restricted expertise” about bin Laden and al Qaeda’s plans to assault the United States and experimented with to alert the American governing administration about the terrorist leader during a speech in Europe.

Massoud would not survive to see bin Laden’s strategies appear to fruition. For a long time, he experienced opposed the two the Taliban and al Qaeda as the terror teams acquired traction in Afghanistan. On Sept. 9, 2001, two al Qaeda operatives disguised on their own as journalists and killed Massoud in a suicide bombing requested by bin Laden.

“The table is set for Usama bin Laden,” Ackerman mentioned. “Ahmad Shah Massoud is dead. He has a steady perch from inside of of Afghanistan and pretty much 10 yrs of organizing is in place, heading all the way again to his unsuccessful attempt to destroy the Environment Trade Center earlier in the ‘90s. It is two days right before Sept. 11 and by bin Laden’s setting up and funding, those people attacks are imminent … and will go on to spur a 20-yr war, the longest in America’s background.”

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Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked 4 planes on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, flying two of the planes into the Twin Towers of the Entire world Trade Middle in New York Metropolis. Hijackers flew a third plane into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The passengers and crew associates of the fourth aircraft fought again and crashed the aircraft into a discipline in Pennsylvania ahead of it could get to Washington, D.C. The attacks killed 2,977 men and women in the most significant loss of lifetime from a international strike on American soil.

A U.S.-led military coalition began its invasion of Afghanistan within a thirty day period, with the intention of driving out bin Laden, al Qaeda and the Taliban. American troops stayed in the country for the next two decades prior to the calamitous withdrawal in August 2021.

A crowd celebrates news that Usama Bin Laden is dead May 2, 2011, in New York City.

A crowd celebrates news that Usama Bin Laden is useless May 2, 2011, in New York Town.
(Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald by using Getty Photos)

Bin Laden, meanwhile, eluded capture for almost 10 many years. Finally, U.S. intelligence tracked the 54-calendar year-old terror mastermind to a compound in Pakistan. In the early hours of Might 1, 2011, a group of Navy SEALs raided the compound, killing bin Laden and 4 some others, prompting global celebrations.

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