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Osama wanted Kashmiri to target Obama, Petraeus

May 03, 2012 22:22 IST

Osama bin Laden had planned to kill US President Barack Obama and General David Petraeus, who then was the top US commander in Afghanistan, and had issued instructions to Illyas Kashmiri to set up two units to target planes carrying them.

According to the documents seized from the Abbottabad safe-house of bin Laden, where he was killed by US forces about a year ago, the then Al Qaeda leader wanted to target only Obama and Petraeus.

Some of these documents were released by the Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point on Thursday.

"Bin Ladin had asked Atiyya's predecessor, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, to task Ilyas, presumably Ilyas Kashmiri, to set up two units, one in Pakistan and another in Bagram, Afghanistan, to target airplanes known to be carrying President Obama and/or General Petraeus on their visits to these areas.

"He only wanted President Obama and General Petraeus to be targeted," CTC said in its report.

He explained that the death of President Obama would see the "utterly unprepared" Vice President Joe Biden automatically assume the presidency, which would cause the US to enter into crisis mode, and "the killing of Petraeus would have a serious impact on the course of the war," as bin Ladin considered him to be "the man of this (critical) phase", CTC said based on the analysis of these documents.

Bin Laden did not explain, however, why he did not want "Secretary of Defense (Robert) Gates or the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Admiral Mike) Mullen or the Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan (Richard) Holbrooke" to be targeted.

It is possible that bin Laden had prepared a more detailed plan in a previous letter, which might explain why the brief description available reads as an amateurish plot or just wishful thinking, CTC West Point said.

"I asked Shaykh Sa'id, Allah have mercy on his soul, to task brother Ilyas to prepare two groups - one in Pakistan and the other in the Bagram area of Afghanistan -- with the mission of anticipating and spotting the visits of Obama or Petraeus to Afghanistan or Pakistan to target the aircraft of either one of them," bin Laden wrote in one of his letter, according to the English translation done by CTC.

"They are not to target visits by US Vice President Biden, Secretary of Defence Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff (Chairman) Mullen, or the Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Holbrook.

"The groups will remain on the lookout for Obama or Petraeus," bin Laden wrote.

"The reason for concentrating on them is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency for the remainder of the term, as it is the norm over there. Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the US into a crisis," bin Laden wrote.

"As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour in this last year of the war, and killing him would alter the war's path. So please ask brother Ilyas to send to me the steps he has taken into that work," he wrote.

Obama added, "It would be good if you coordinate with our brothers of the Pakistan and Afghanistan Taliban in regards to the external work, so that there is complete cooperation between us, and tell them that we started planning work inside America many years ago, and gained experience in that field, and we and they are brothers so we should not fall into the error that hurts the Muslims and benefits the enemy, due to lack of coordination between us."

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