The hunt for Osama Bin Laden: How terror leader became ‘world’s most wanted man’
Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was killed on May 2,2011, by US special forces after a decade-long hunt to find him.
By Richard Wood
On May 2, 2011, Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was killed in a daring raid by US special forces in Pakistan. It marked the conclusion of a decade-long hunt by the US to find the Al Qaeda leader.
Osama Bin Laden came to prominence after planning terror attacks in the 1990s.
In 1998, he helped organise the suicide truck bomb attacks against US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 people, and wounding several thousand more.
The then US President Bill Clinton ordered cruise missiles to fire at targets in Afghanistan and Sudan, but Bin Laden was not hurt.
On September 11, 2001, Osama Bin Laden wrote his name in history when Al Qaeda terrorists flew hijacked planes into landmark targets in the US, including New York’s World Trade Centre, killing thousands of people.
The 9/11 attacks left the US and the world stunned.
Within hours, US and other western governments launch a frantic hunt for the perpetrators but Osama Bin Laden remained free.
In the days following the 9/11 attacks, then US President George W. Bush pledges a war on terror.
He famously said Osama bin Laden was wanted by the US “Dead or alive”.
In December 2001, after US and British forces invade Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden’s base in the Tora Bora mountains is captured by US backed forces, but the Al Qaeda leader is not found.
The invasion marked the start of a long and bloody occupation of Afghanistan by the US and its allies including Australia.
Despite efforts to find him, Osama Bin Laden continued to appear in videos urging attacks against the US and its allies.
But in early 2011, US intelligence achieves a breakthrough in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
CIA agents discovered he was living in a compound at Abbottabad, 60km north of the Pakistani capital Islamabad.
President Barack Obama and a team of his close advisors receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington.
US President Barack Obama authorised a military strike to find and kill Osama Bin Laden.
A raid spearheaded by the elite US Navy SEALS was planned in secrecy without the knowledge of the Pakistan government
The US Navy’s SEAL Team Six was selected for the mission to find and kill Osama Bin Laden.
The troops spent weeks meticulously planning the operation.
Despite the loss of a US military helicopter, the raid against Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound was a success, with the terrorist mastermind shot dead.
Spontaneous celebrations broke out across the US after the announcement that Bin Laden had been killed.
It marked the culmination of a decade-long manhunt by the US and its allies.
The death of Osama bin Laden made headlines across the world, with hopes it would prove a hammer blow against Al Qaeda.
While the group’s power and reach declined, other terror groups such as Islamic State emerged after 2011.
US troops have already begun leaving Afghanistan and by November 2020 less than 5000 soldiers are expected to still be there, down from nearly 13,000 when the Taliban agreement was signed on February 29, 2020.