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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wikileaks Document: Afghan Intelligence Said In June 2007 That Osama Bin Laden Died In Peshawar Hospital

Updated 7/26/2010, 2:30 p.m. Eastern

Don't assume this is correct (I am assuming it is not), but a single-source intelligence report from the Afghanistan National Directorate of Security reported in June 2007 that Osama bin Laden had died in a Peshawar hospital.

According to an intelligence report leaked by Wikileaks:
NDS is also reporting that UBL had been transported to Peshawar hospital in Pakistan for treatment, where he has died. NDS stressed that this was a single source report and had not been verified.
Interestingly, there is virtually no other information about Osama bin Laden or Ayman Al Zawahiri to be found in the files, at least not by name. (There are a few more references to bin Laden in the remaining 15,000 or so records which Wikileaks has not yet issued but which select news organizations have viewed.)

One finds only the barest scraps of intelligence; nothing that points to bin Laden or Zawahiri being located in Afghanistan (no surprise there), and nothing that points to any degree of operational control over Afghan forces by either man. There are less than five references to each man in 76,000 records.

Compare that to almost 400 references to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (an Al Qaeda ally) and his network of fighters, and at least 85 references to Jaliluddin Haqqani (a Taliban Ally) and his network of fighters. There are 70 references to high-value targets -- including a handful of named Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders.

There are fewer than 200 references to Al Qaeda. Compare that to 6,000-ish references to the Taliban. Most references to enemy forces refer to ACM (Anti-Coalition Militia) or INS (insurgents), but the comparison between Al Qaeda and Taliban references is very interesting and perhaps telling. I've been one to argue that the estimate of 50 to 100 Al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan is too low. Does this call that into question? It's hard to say. There are a number of factors that could skew this sample. But this is certainly one of the most important data points to date.

(Here's a contrarian point of view citing some documents I haven't seen in my download from the Wikileaks site and others which I feel are being overrepresented in the article.)

Importantly, there are more than 200 references to Iran -- more than there are to Al Qaeda, although dozens are in longish diplomatic cables. Most non-diplomacy citations were in reference to weapons and dozens of reports of IED components which were manufactured in Iran. Additionally, there are references to smuggling routes for both trained fighters and weapons coming from Iran into Afghanistan. One record describes an alleged terrorist facilitator moving Al Qaeda personnel and other militants through Afghanistan to Iran.

Other tidbits:
November 2006: AQ (NFI) trained 30 women (NFI) to execute suicide attacks against all foreigners in AFGHANISTAN. The women trained at a base located in MIRALI/MIRAMSHAH/ PAKISTAN (NFI); they are Chechens, Uzbeks, Arabs and Pakistanis. Seven of them are now located in KABUL (NFI) and they will execute suicide attacks against CF/ISAF (NFI).
Speaking of bombs, there were around 14,000 reports of IED encounters, which is an extremely worrisome number. Even allowing for the numerous false alarms, we're talking about IED production at a staggering level. With so many incidents, Darwin tells us that IED makers are learning a lot about what works and what doesn't, and the fittest who survive the war will be extraordinarily dangerous.

Fortunately, thus far, the IED production capacity has been pretty focused on the actual war/insurgency. But eventually we're going to be gone, or at least less engaged, and the survivors will turn their eyes in a systematic way to training foreigners or traveling abroad to ply their skills. We've been lucky that we haven't had a second Ramzi Yousef yet -- a super-competent bomb builder with both ambition and ancillary skills such as language and disguise. But we won't be lucky forever.

One of the memos records a non-combat meeting in November 2006 attended by military personnel during which a supposedly pro-government fatwa was read on the permissibility of killing Muslims.
a). First if some one kills Muslims, he should be revenged for

b). If a person is married and do have illegal sexual affairs with some one else, then he should be punished to death for that.

c). the third thing is if a Muslim convert to other religions, then he/she should be punished to death.

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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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