News / USA

Officials Provide Details on bin Laden Operation

An image made from Geo TV video shows flames at what is thought to be the compound where terror mastermind Osama bin Laden was killed Sunday, May 1, 2011, in Abbatabad, Pakistan.
An image made from Geo TV video shows flames at what is thought to be the compound where terror mastermind Osama bin Laden was killed Sunday, May 1, 2011, in Abbatabad, Pakistan.
TEXT SIZE - +

Briefing reporters in a telephone news conference after the president spoke, senior administration officials provided additional details on the operation that killed bin Laden, although they stressed they could not and would not go into many facts of the mission.

Surgical raid

Officials described what they called a dangerous surgical raid by a small helicopter-borne special operations team, against a large compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, north of the capital, Islamabad.

The officials said the compound had existed for about five years, had heavy security, including thick walls topped by barbed wire, few outward facing windows and two security gates, and had no telephone or Internet service.

bin Laden compound
A diagram of the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed - Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense

Bin Laden resisted

According to the officials, Osama bin Laden resisted the assault force and was killed in a firefight.  The U.S. officials offered no further details on the duration of the firefight itself.

The U.S. special operations team remained in the compound for less than 40 minutes and did not encounter any local Pakistani authorities.  Officials said the mission was designed to minimize collateral damage and risk to non-combatants in the compound and to Pakistani civilians in the area.

In the firefight, the officials said, three adult males were killed, including what were believed to be two bin Laden couriers and the third man, who officials said is believed to have been one of bin Laden's adult sons.

Of several women and children at the compound, officials said one woman was killed when she was used as a shield by a male combatant.  Two other women were injured.  

US helicopter lost

One U.S. helicopter was lost during the operation, because of mechanical failure, which the officials did not elaborate on.  They said the aircraft was destroyed by the crew for security reasons, and the assault force boarded the remaining helicopter to exit the compound.

Bin laden burial

In answer to a reporter's question, the senior administration officials said steps have been taken to ensure that bin Laden's body is being handled "in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition," something they said the United States takes very seriously.

Asked about the fact that bin Laden was ultimately found inside Pakistan, and whether this confirmed any links he may have had with Pakistani authorities,  the officials said the U.S. is "very concerned" about the fact that bin Laden was inside Pakistan, adding "this is something that we are going to continue to work [with] the Pakistani government on."  

Pakistan informed

Senior administration officials recalled that President Obama had repeatedly made clear that the U.S. would act on "actionable intelligence" on bin Laden's whereabouts. They said senior Pakistani leaders were briefed shortly after the raid on its intent and results.

Senior administration officials said intelligence on the bin Laden compound was shared with no other country, including Pakistan, saying this was essential for the security of the operation and U.S. personnel.  They added that only a small group of people inside the U.S. government knew of the operation.

September 2010 assessment

The officials said that beginning in September of last year the Central Intelligence Agency began to work with President Obama on "a set of assessments" that led the agency to believe that Osama bin Laden was located at the compound in Pakistan. By mid-February the officials said a series of intensive meetings determined there was a sound intelligence basis for pursuing this in an aggressive way.

Between mid-March and the end of April, the officials said, President Obama chaired a series of National Security Council meetings to develop a course of action to bring bin Laden to justice, and gave the final order for the operation on the morning of April 29.

Careful intelligence

One senior official said the successful operation was the culmination of years of careful and highly advanced intelligence work involving multiple agencies.  When the case was made that the compound in Pakistan was a critical target, the official said, officials began to prepare the mission in conjunction with the U.S. military.

As for the impact bin Laden's killing will have on al-Qaida, senior administration officials call it "the single greatest victory  in the U.S.-led campaign to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida" and "a major and essential step in bringing about al-Qaida's eventual destruction."

Although the administration officials say bin Laden's death will put al-Qaida on "a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse" they say the terrorist organization may not fragment immediately.   

They add that it is most fitting that bin Laden's death comes at a time of great movement for freedom and democracy that is sweeping the Arab world" adding that he stood in direct opposition to what courageous men and women throughout the Middle East and North Africa are risking their lives for "individual rights and human dignity."

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid