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.

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

Kurdish President: More Needed to Defeat Islamic State

In interview with VOA's Persian Service, Massoud Barzani says peshmerga forces have not received weapons, logistical support needed to successfully fight IS in northern Iraq More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment 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.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs