CSMS Magazine Staff Writers
In the wake of the highly trained and well coordinated operation that brought the terrorist, mastermind Osama bin Laden to his fatal end. Since then, an almost Rambo like portray of the Navy SEAL Team 6 have been sweeping the news. So, we are putting together, in motion, some of the most important moments of that historic Sunday evening that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. Normally, we don’t do such a thing, but the events over the past few days have compelled us to put a comprehensive account of an operation—in stages—that began over some months ago and ended in a dramatic fashion inside the million dollar compound, where the terrorists mastermind Osama bin Laden lived in relative peacefulness, undeterred, unnerved even as the Pakistani military academy is just a mile away. Here, this is how events unfolded last Sunday:
According to the British Guardian, the four helicopters carrying the Navy SEALs lifted off from Ghazi airbase in northwest Pakistan, where they would certainly have been observed flying east towards Abbottabad, not west towards the mountainous region on the Afghanistan border, the usual zone of operations for the US special forces. The helicopters flew straight into one of the main centers of the Pakistani military, in the middle of the night, supposedly without anyone noticing.
A similar version was recounted by POLITICO. According to politico.com, around 3: 30 p.m. ET Sunday, a helicopter carrying Navy SEALs to the appointed mission suffered a malfunctioned engine as it neared the compound in Abattobad, Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden’s was. The helicopter stalled upon arrival, as it hovered. The pilot set it down gently inside the walls, then couldn’t get it going again.
It was a heart-wrenching moment for Obama and his security team—his war cabinet—who had been monitoring the operation in the White House Situation Room.
The SEALs disembarked, then quickly blew up the crippled chopper. In a pitch battle that lasted about 40 minutes, the SEALs overran bin laden resistance, shot him dead and took custody of his body. Three other individuals were reportedly killed in the shootout. Then they lifted off in a reinforcement craft just before 4:15 p.m.. “The world is safer. It is a better place because of the death of Osama bin Laden,” Obama said at the White House Monday.
Bin Laden’s body was taken to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson on the North Arabian Sea, and he was buried over night. DNA from the remains provided certain confirmation that bin Laden was dead. He was 54.
Briefing reporters at the White House Monday, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said the special-ops team that went into the compound was prepared to take bin Laden alive, but he resisted. A woman – one of bin Laden’s many wives was killed, Brennan said.
Brennan declined to describe exactly how White House officials monitored the firefight and said the confirmation that the man killed at the compound was bin Laden came in through the day, as the body was identified by various means. “There wasn’t one ‘A-ha’ when the DNA came in,” Brennan said. “It was building over time.”
As for convincing skeptics that the man killed was the Al Qaeda mastermind, Brennan said the White House is still considering what other evidence to release — including whether to release a photograph of bin Laden’s body. “We are going to do everything we can to make sure nobody has any basis to try to deny that we got Osama bin Laden,” Brennan said.
While President Obama claimed in his Sunday night speech that US intelligence agencies only learned of the compound’s existence in August 2010, diplomatic cables obtained by the whistleblower web site WikiLeaks suggest that the US government learned of the Abbottabad site sometime in 2008, based on interrogations of an Al Qaeda leader, Abu al-Libi, detained at Guantaamo Bay.
WikiLeaks published a Twitter posting Monday giving some details of the cable, but a fuller release of material is expected. According to the posting, al-Libi had been chosen to be a special messenger for Al Qaeda in 2003 and was to be based in Abbottabad. He moved his family from Peshawar to Abbottabad in July 2003 to carry out this assignment.