WASHINGTON: Months before his death, Osama bin Laden fretted about the Islamic State’s impatient, violent tactics and the fading of al Qaeda, documents released by the CIA on Thursday showed.
The latest release from the trove of documents found when Navy Seals stormed the al Qaeda chief’s secret Abbottabad compound and killed him in 2011 show bin Laden trying to keep his followers around the world aligned in his war against the United States. They also reveal a worried father warning his sons that they could be injected with electronic chips to track them.
He also spent significant time trying to manage the handling of foreigners kidnapped by far-flung affiliates of his radical group and showed a strong focus on affairs in Yemen, where a powerful new branch – al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – was having a strong impact.
One letter to AQAP founder Nasir al Wuhayshi warns not to move too fast against the government, because conditions were not yet right anywhere to form an Islamic state that could govern effectively and resist attacks from outside. “Blood should not be shed unless we have evidence to show that the elements of success to establish the Islamic State and maintaining it are available or if achieving such goals is worthy of shedding such blood,” he wrote.
The documents which appear to date mostly from around 2010 show the al Qaeda chief determined to keep his group’s focus on the US as its enemy.
The letters also reveal that Anwar al Awlaki was a candidate to be named emir or chief of AQAP, with bin Laden asking for more biographical details about him. Bin Laden registered his doubts at the same time, noting that “here we trust the people after we send them to the front line and test them.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2017.
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