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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
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.

VOA Blogs