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UNITED STATES SENATE,
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS,
Washington, DC, November 30, 2009.
DEAR COLLEAGUE: This report by the Committee majority staff is
part of our continuing examination of the conflict in Afghanistan.
When we went to war less than a month after the attacks of September
11, the objective was to destroy Al Qaeda and kill or capture
its leader, Osama bin Laden, and other senior figures in the
terrorist group and the Taliban, which had hosted them. Today,
more than eight years later, we find ourselves fighting an increasingly
lethal insurgency in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan
that is led by many of those same extremists. Our inability to finish
the job in late 2001 has contributed to a conflict today that endangers
not just our troops and those of our allies, but the stability
of a volatile and vital region. This report relies on new and existing
information to explore the consequences of the failure to eliminate
bin Laden and other extremist leaders in the hope that we can
learn from the mistakes of the past.
JOHN F. KERRY,
Bin Laden’s presence was more than conjecture. A major with the Army’s Delta Force, who is now retired and uses the pen name Dalton Fury, was the senior U.S. military officer at Tora Bora, commanding about 90 special operations troops and support personnel. He and his fellow commandos from the elite and secretive Delta Force arrived in early December, setting up headquarters in a former schoolhouse near the mountains alongside a handful of CIA operatives who were already there. The Americans were there to direct airstrikes on Tora Bora and work with Afghan militias assembled by two local warlords who had been paid by the CIA to help flush out bin Laden and the Al Qaeda contingent. The Delta Force soldiers were disguised to blend in with the Afghan militia, wearing local clothing, growing bushy beards and sometimes carrying the same types of weapons. Fury recounted his experiences in a book, Kill Bin Laden, which was published in 2008. He expanded on them in interviews with Committee staff. Both the book and the interviews left no doubt that Fury’s team knew bin Laden was holed up at Tora Bora and that he was eager to go get him. In the interviews, he explained that Al Qaeda fighters arrayed in the mountains used unsecure radios, which meant their communications were easily intercepted by his team and by a sophisticated listening post a few miles from the mountain. As a result, the Delta Force and CIA operatives had real-time eavesdropping capabilities on Al Qaeda almost from their arrival, allowing them to track movements and gauge the effectiveness of the bombing. Even more valuable, a few days after arriving,one of the CIA operatives picked up a radio from a dead Al Qaeda fighter. The radio gave the Americans a clear channel into the group’s communications on the mountain. Bin Laden’s voice was often picked up, along with frequent comments about the presence of the man referred to by his followers as ‘‘the sheikh.’’...........
mod edit, all caps in title
[edit on Tue Dec 1 2009 by DontTreadOnMe]