Profile: Osama bin Laden


The al-Qaeda leader alleged the US of waging a war against Muslims and called for overthrow of autocratic Arab regimes
The US accused Bin Laden of being the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks  [AFP]

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was one of the world’s most wanted fugitive, blamed for many atrocities by the United States.
Alleged to be one of the main architects of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, he was in hiding ever since in the Pakistan-Afghan border areas.
The Taliban, who were ousted from power in Afghanistan after US launched military operation against them in 2001, were believed to be sheltering Laden.
The US had also accused him of masterminding a series of bombings against many US installations across the globe.
After 9/11, the US launched a global hunt for Osama bin Laden, the son of a billionaire Saudi businessman.
In 2007, the US Senate doubled the reward for the death or capture of the al-Qaeda chief to $50m.
Interestingly, Osama’s first foray into the internecine Afghanistan conflict was allegedly via US intelligence agency Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] when he was involved in the fight against the then Soviet Union’s invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.
Though the Russians were driven out by the Afghan mujahidin backed by the US and Pakistan, Osama’s love affair with global fight against so called western influence further blossomed and culminated in the deadly 9/11 attack.

After the Taliban were overthrown, he joined cause with them in their guerilla war against US-led troops in Afghanistan.

He had also called for the overthrow of many autocratic Arab rulers, who he accused of siding with the US. In fact, he was banished from the Saudi terrritory for going openly against the monarch.

Osama was born in 1957 in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh. He was the 17th of over 50 children born to his Yemeni father, Muhammad and Syria-born mother Alia Ghanem.

There has been conflicting reports about his death in the past too, the first time being in 2001 when a section of Pakistan media reported that Osama died of lung complications.

The US had alleged that Pakistan knew about his whereabouts, a charge Pakistan always denied.

Barack Obama, the US president, said bin Laden was killed in Pakistani city of Abbottabad, about 150km north of Islamabad.

After Obama became president in 2008, he intensified the search against Laden and launched Predator drone attacks inside Pakistan, a constant point of acrimony between the two countries.

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