Former elite officer says plan to kill Osama was nixed in 2001October 6th, 2008 - 3:10 pm ICT by ANI
New York, Oct.6 (ANI): Americas best chance to eliminate Al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden came in 2001 itself, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, but this plan was nixed, according to a former officer of the elite Delta Force.
A CBS report says that shortly after 9/11, the Pentagon issued a simple order to a top secret team of American commandos in Afghanistan Kill Osama bin Laden.
The officer in command of that operation, has decided to break his silence after seven years to set the record straight.
“Our job was to go find him, capture or kill him, and we knew the writing on the wall was to kill him because nobody wanted to bring Osama bin Laden back to stand trial in the United States somewhere,” the mission commander says.
In 2001, just 10 weeks after 9/11, he was a 37-year-old Army major leading a team of America’’s most elite commandos. He calls himself “Dalton Fury,” and is the author of “Kill Bin Laden,” a new book out this week.
In 2001, his entire team transformed themselves in Afghanistan.
“Everybody had their beard grown. Everybody wore local Afghan clothing, sometimes carrying the same weapons as them,” he explained.
“The idea was that if this all worked out Osama bin Laden would be dead, and no one would ever know that Delta Force was there?
Delta developed an audacious plan to come at bin Laden from the one direction he would never expect.
“We wanted to come in on the back door. The original plan that we sent up through our higher headquarters, Delta Force wants to come in over the mountain with oxygen, coming from the Pakistan side, over the mountains and come in and get a drop on bin Laden from behind.”
But they didn”t take that route, because Fury says they didn”t get approval from a higher level. “Whether that was Central Command all the way up to the president of the United States, I”m not sure,” he says.
The next option that Delta wanted to employ was to drop hundreds of landmines in the mountain passes that led to Pakistan, which was bin Ladens escape route.
But they didn”t do that either, because Fury says that plan was also disapproved. He says he has “no idea” why.
Four days after arriving in Tora Bora, Dalton Fury was faced with a fateful command decision: three of his men were in trouble behind enemy lines, and at the same time the CIA had been listening to bin Laden’’s radio transmissions and had a breakthrough.
“And this is where it gets complicated. At about the same time, the CIA, George, comes into our room and he says, ”Guys, I got a location for Osama bin Laden.” Thats probably the best locational data we”ve had on UBL ever.”
It was night, so Fury was without his Afghan allies. Still, he rescued his men and then found himself approaching bin Laden’’s doorstep. “We”re about 2,000 meters away from where we think bin Laden’’s at still. From where we”re at. Now we have to make a decision,” he remembers.
Fury had two choices: advance his small team with no Afghan support, or return to camp and assault in the morning. He was under orders to make the Afghans take the lead, and intelligence said there were more than 1,000 hardened fighters protecting bin Laden.
He says that his decision to abort the mission while regrettable; wasn”t worth the risk at that particular moment.
It was better to be cautious, refit, go up there with the entire force the next day and play the battle out as we had planned,” he adds.
In the morning, bin Laden was on the radio. The CIA, Delta, and their Afghan allies were listening.
The radio intercepts gave Delta a fix on bin Laden’’s location. And one of the Delta soldiers narrated his own video.
And then something extraordinary happened: Fury’’s Afghan allies announced they had negotiated a cease fire with al Qaeda, something the Americans had no interest in.
When Fury’’s team advanced anyway, his Afghan partners drew their weapons on Delta. It took 12 hours to end the bogus cease-fire, precious time for al Qaeda to move.
Fury says their assumption was that bin Laden was heading for a valley at that time.
Bin Laden had changed direction, and the tone of his radio calls. “Clearly under duress. Clearly hurting. Clearly caring for his men,” Fury says.
(CBS) In a notebook, Fury wrote down the translation of bin Laden’’s words as his team listened on the radio. “Quote, ”Our prayers were not answered. Times are dire and bad. We did not get support from the apostates, who are our brothers. I”m sorry for bringing you here. It is okay to surrender,” end quote,” Fury reads.
Fury says that when he heard that, he thought it was almost over.
Soon after that intercept, a Delta team called “Jackal” radioed that they had bin Laden’’s entourage in sight.
“The operation Jackal team observed 50 men moving into a cave that they hadn”t seen before. The Mujahideen said they saw an individual, a taller fellow, wearing a camouflage jacket. Everybody put two and two together, ”Okay, that’’s got to be Osama Bin Laden egressing from the battlefield.” They called up every available bomb in the air, took control of the airspace. And they dropped several hours of bombs on the cave he went into. We believe, it was our opinion at the time, that he died inside that cave,” Fury says.
Bin Laden’’s radio went silent. And Dalton Fury believed the bombs had killed him. Six months later, American and Canadian forces came back for proof. They checked al Qaeda fighting holes and used explosives to try open up collapsed caves. This is where they hoped to find bin Ladens body. It’’s an al Qaeda graveyard rising from the opium poppies.
The troops dug up bodies, removed fingers for forensic analysis, then carefully reburied the bodies. But, there was no luck. In October 2004, bin Laden released a video and Fury knew his team had failed. (ANI)
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