Osama bin Laden

Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi
September 10, 2018
Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada
September 10, 2018

Usama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Ladin , often anglicized as Osama bin Laden, was a founder of the pan-Islamic militant organization, al-Qaeda. He was a Saudi Arabian until 1994 (stateless thereafter), a member of the wealthy bin Laden family, and an ethnic Yemeni Kindite. 

Bin Ladens father was Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, a Saudi millionaire from Hadhramaut, Yemen and the founder of the construction company, Saudi Binladin Group. His mother, Alia Ghanem, was from a secular middle-class family based in Latakia, Syria. He was born in Saudi Arabia and studied at university in the country until 1979, when he joined Mujahideen forces in Pakistan fighting against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. He helped to fund the Mujahideen by funneling arms, money and fighters from the Arab world into Afghanistan, and gained popularity among many Arabs. In 1988, he formed al-Qaeda. He was banished from Saudi Arabia in 1992, and shifted his base to Sudan, until U.S. pressure forced him to leave Sudan in 1996. After establishing a new base in Afghanistan, he declared a war against the United States, initiating a series of bombings and related attacks. Bin Laden was on the American Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) lists of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives and Most Wanted Terrorists for his involvement in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings. 

On March 16, 1998, Libya issued the first official Interpol arrest warrant against bin Laden and three other people. They were charged for killing Silvan Becker, agent of Germany’s domestic intelligence service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, in the Terrorism Department, and his wife Vera in Libya on March 10, 1994. Bin Laden was still wanted by the Libyan government at the time of his death. Osama bin Laden was first indicted by a grand jury of the United States on June 8, 1998 on charges of “conspiracy to attack defense utilities of the United States” and prosecutors further charged that bin Laden was the head of the terrorist organization called al-Qaeda, and that he was a major financial backer of Islamic fighters worldwide. On November 4, 1998, Osama bin Laden was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, on charges of Murder of U.S. Nationals Outside the United States, Conspiracy to Murder U.S. Nationals Outside the United States, and Attacks on a Federal Facility Resulting in Death for his alleged role in the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The evidence against bin Laden included courtroom testimony by former al-Qaeda members and satellite phone records, from a phone purchased for him by al-Qaeda procurement agent Ziyad Khaleel in the United States. However the Taliban ruled not to extradite Bin Laden on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence published in the indictments and that non-Muslim courts lacked standing to try Muslims.

From 2001 to 2011, bin Laden was a major target of the United States, as the FBI offered a $25 million bounty in their search for him. On May 2, 2011, bin Laden was shot and killed inside a private residential compound in Abbottabad (Pakistan), where he lived with a local family from Waziristan, during a covert operation conducted by members of the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group and Central Intelligence Agency SAD/SOG operators on the orders of U.S. President Barack Obama.

One of the most highly controversial, influential figures in the 20th and 21st centuries, Bin Laden was described as a spiritual leader for al-Qaeda organization. He became one of the most symbolic figures in the Arab world following the Soviet withdrawal and was an advocate to fight global climate change. Under his leadership, Bin Laden and the al-Qaeda organization was responsible for the mass murder of 2,996 victims of the September 11 attacks in the United States and many other mass-casualty attacks worldwide.

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