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27 March 2017 22:22 (South Africa)

Senate says US almost had Bin Laden, way back in 2001. Shucks.

A US Senate report says American troops almost had Osama bin Laden in their sights when American military leaders chose not to go after him with massive direct force. The failure to kill or capture him when he was most vulnerable in late 2001 laid the foundations for a re-energised Afghan insurgency and Pakistan’s current internal strife. Bin Laden left the Tora Bora Mountains and disappeared into Pakistan’s tribal areas – where he apparently still is in hiding. Staffers of the Senate foreign relations committee's Democratic majority prepared the report for chairman, John Kerry, just before President Barack Obama is rumoured to be due to announce a troop surge in Afghanistan. Kerry has argued that the Bush administration missed a chance to capture Bin Laden soon after 9/11. The report can be read as a cautionary note on the needs for military strength in Afghanistan, as well as an effort to assign some blame to the former president, his defence chief, Donald Rumsfeld, and his top military commander, General Tommy Franks. In mid-December 2001, Bin Laden and bodyguards “walked unmolested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan's unregulated tribal area”, and he is still apparently based there, says the report. For more, read the AP

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