US officials tricked into letting Osama bin Laden flee Afghanistan three months after 9/11

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The United States was tricked into letting Osama bin Laden escape its clutches three months after 9/11, after foolishly believing that Taliban commanders would hand him over in exchange for a ceasefire, according to a new book.

US military leaders took the Taliban at their word when they “promised bin Laden would personally surrender” if the United States called off the airstrikes.

At the time, the famous Al Qaeda leader was stranded in the remote mountains of Tora Bora in Afghanistan where a bomb landed on his bunker.

His supporters had grown worried and “desperate”, and bin Laden even told his men to surrender if they wanted to.

US officials dropped the bullet by capturing Al Qaeda leader and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in December 2001, when they cornered him in Afghanistan, according to a new book by journalist Peter Bergen

Three months after the September 11 attacks, the United States dropped a known 15,000 pound bomb on Al Qaeda positions in Tora Bora, inflicting catastrophic damage.  Pictured: President George W. Bush next examines the destruction of the Pentagon following 9/11

Three months after the September 11 attacks, the United States dropped a known 15,000 pound bomb on Al Qaeda positions in Tora Bora, inflicting catastrophic damage. Pictured: President George W. Bush next examines the destruction of the Pentagon following 9/11

But after America agreed to a temporary truce, the terrorist was able to escape under cover of darkness and fled to Pakistan where it will take another ten years to find him.

This is arguably the biggest American mistake in Afghanistan before last week, when the Taliban took over the country following the withdrawal of American troops.

The Rise and Fall of <a class=Osama bin Laden, by CNN reporter and national security analyst Peter Bergen, was published on August 3″ class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden, by CNN reporter and national security analyst Peter Bergen, was published on August 3

President Joe Biden is now scrambling to explain how the country fell to the Taliban in days after two decades of American support.

Details of bin Laden’s escape are revealed in a new book, The Rise and Fall of Osama Bin Laden, by Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst and one of the world’s foremost experts on the terrorism.

He writes that in December 2001, Bin Laden was stuck in a cave system in Tora Bora in what would prove to be the best chance of catching the brains of the 9/11 attacks.

On December 9, an American bomber dropped a 15,000 pound bomb known as the Daisy Cutter on Al Qaeda positions, inflicting catastrophic damage.

That night, a bomb landed on Bin Laden’s bunker and his supporters were “worried that their leader had been killed.”

But he wasn’t there and dreamed of a scorpion descending into the trenches his men had dug for him and walking away several hundred yards.

“But now Bin Laden supporters were in despair. The caves in which they were sheltering were at 9,000 feet, where the temperature was ten degrees below zero, ”writes Bergen.

In December 2001, Bin Laden was stranded in a cave system in Tora Bora in what would have been the perfect opportunity to capture the wanted terrorist after the September 11 attacks.  He was pictured in the mountainous region years earlier in 1996

In December 2001, Bin Laden was stranded in a cave system in Tora Bora in what would have been the perfect opportunity to capture the wanted terrorist after the September 11 attacks. He was pictured in the mountainous region years earlier in 1996

One of bin Laden's shelters in the complex was made of mud and stone and supported by wooden struts

One of bin Laden’s shelters in the complex was made of mud and stone and supported by wooden struts

“The seat was tightening. There was no water because it was frozen. Snow was falling steadily as a barrage of bombs fell on them around the clock.

Bin Laden addressed his men and said: “I am sorry for having involved you in his battle. If you cannot resist any longer, you can surrender with my blessing.

But out of the darkness emerged a lifeline from the most unlikely of places – Americans.

Bergen writes that Al Qaeda officials proposed a ceasefire with the promise that bin Laden would “surrender personally”.

Bin Laden took this as a “sign of Allah’s favor that his enemies accept this truce,” which took place between December 12 and 13.

A stunned bin Laden considered it nothing less than a “miracle,” writes Bergen.

On December 12 at 11 pm, Bin Laden and his supporters “took advantage of the truce” to leave Tora Bora.

He and two of his sons snuck into what Bergen calls “one of the great acts of disappearance in history.”

They first fled to northern Afghanistan before moving to Pakistan where bin Laden would be found and killed by a Navy SEAL team a decade later.

Former Acting CIA Director Michael Morrell

According to Bergen, former President George W. Bush blasted CIA Deputy Director Mike Morrell for the fiasco when news of Bin Laden's escape reached the White House.

According to Bergen, former President George W. Bush blasted CIA Deputy Director Mike Morrell (left) for the fiasco when news of Bin Laden’s escape reached the White House.

Now President Joe Biden is scrambling to explain how Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in days after two decades of US support

Now President Joe Biden is scrambling to explain how Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in days after two decades of US support

When news of Bin Laden’s escape reached the White House, former President George W. Bush, who rarely spoke up, was angrier than anyone had ever seen him.

He yelled at Mike Morrell, his CIA briefer, “How the hell did he get away from you?”

Bush put his other top advisers on the line and asked, “What the hell is this?” Michael just told me something about bin Laden running away ”.

So began the decade of bin Laden’s flight in which he posted videos mocking Bush and celebrating al-Qaeda attacks such as the London bombings in 2005 that killed 52 people.

Bergen writes that senior Bush officials tried to claim that there was no evidence that Bin Laden was in Tora Bora.

In fact, there was “considerable information” about its location and Vice President Dick Cheney even wrote about it on ABC News.

It was far from the only failure that allowed 9/11 to happen and only one of the 33 meetings of the Bush administration’s National Security Council concerned Al Qaeda.

Obama Administration Officials Receive Update on SEAL Team 6 Mission to Kill Bin Laden in 2011

Obama Administration Officials Receive Update on SEAL Team 6 Mission to Kill Bin Laden in 2011

<a class=Bin Laden was killed in his Abbottabad compound in a US special forces raid on May 3, 2011″ class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

Bin Laden was killed in his Abbottabad compound in a US special forces raid on May 3, 2011

Among the attacks planned by bin Laden was the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, which claimed the lives of 17 American sailors.

Incredibly, the White House did not respond and by that time the CIA had already wasted several opportunities to kill Bin Laden.

Among them, Bin Laden joined Arab princes on a 1999 hunting trip to Afghanistan, but the airstrike was called off because officials did not want to risk killing members of the Emirati royal family.

Gary Schroen, the CIA station chief in Pakistan at the time, received a phone call home years later from a man who said he was the hawk manager for the camp where the men were.

The man said bin Laden had been there and the CIA “should have shot”.


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