Documents recovered from Osama Bin Laden’s compound reveal how the former al Qaeda leader had planned to kill the US President Barack Obama and the present director of CIA, David Petraeus. Bin Laden had also urged supporters to leave Waziristan due to surveillance from drone aircraft.
In documents released through the West Point Combating Terrorism Center by the US government, the seventeen letters are part of the correspondence OBL received, and sent to al Qaeda commanders.
In a letter sent in May 2010 to al Qaeda leader Attiyah Abd-al-Rahman, who was killed in 2011 in a drone strike, Osama Bin Laden asked “Shaykh Said” to ask “brother Ilyas” to prepare two groups in Pakistan and Bagram, Afghanistan to anticipate and spot trips by US President Barack Obama and General David Petraeus.
The letter says that the groups are to target their aircraft, however, they should not target visits by US Vice President Joe Biden, then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, then Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen or the now late US Special Representative for Af-Pak Richard Holbrooke. “The reason for concentrating on them is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency for the remainder of the term, as it is the norm over there. Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the US into a crisis. As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour in this last year of the war, and killing him would alter the war’s path,” wrote Bin Laden.
Another letter by Osama Bin Laden, also to Attiyah in October 2010, is directed to the brothers in Waziristan, and said that they should keep a low profile and take necessary precautions. “(They) should stay in the area and those who cannot do so; their first option is to go to Nuristan in Kunar, Gazni or Zabil. I am leaning toward getting most of the brothers out of the area. We could leave the cars because they are targeting cars now, but if we leave them, they will start focusing on houses and that would increase casualties among women and children. It is possible that they have photographed targeted homes. The brothers who can keep a low profile and take the necessary precautions should stay, but move to new houses on a cloudy day.”
Bin Laden also expressed reservations about the would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad telling a US court during his trial that Shahzad lied when he took his US citizenship oath. “You should know that it is not permissible in Islam to betray trust and break a covenant. Perhaps the brother was not aware of this. Please ask the brothers in Taliban Pakistan to explain this point to their members. In one of the pictures, brother Faysal Shahzad was with commander (Hakimullah) Mahsud; please find out if Mahsud knows that getting the American citizenship requires taking an oath to not harm America. This is a very important matter because we do not want al-Mujahidin to be accused of breaking a covenant.”
Critique of Hakimullah Mehsud
A letter, written by al Qaeda leaders Attiyah and Abu Yahya al Libi in December 2010 to Tehreek-e-Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, is critical of his operations. “(Of the passive behavior is) killing more people, taking them as shields without basing their action on the Shari’a killing the normal Muslims as a result of martyrdom operations that takes place in the marketplaces, mosques, roads, assembly places, and calling the Muslims apostates.” The al Qaeda leaders also mention that they are sending directives on kidnapping and ransom money. “We are sending the attached short list on what is acceptable and unacceptable on the subject of kidnapping and receiving money, and we hope that you and the Mujahidin in Pakistan will approve it.”
In late January 2011, American al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn wrote a letter to an unknown recipient, critical of attacks on mosques. “And among the repulsive issues – and certainly forbidden – the targeting of mosques with explosives and others as what is happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan and sometimes in Iraq.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2012.