Washington: The death of Osama bin Laden marks the single greatest victory in the US-led campaign to disrupt, dismantle and defeat terror outfit al Qaeda, American intelligence agency CIA has said.
"It is a major and essential step in bringing about the terrorist organisation`s eventual dissolution," said the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
"Although al Qaeda may not fragment immediately, the loss of Bin Laden puts the deadly organisation on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse," it asserted.
Bin Laden was al Qaeda`s founder and only `amir` or commander in its 22-year history.
He was largely responsible for the organisation`s mystique, its ability to raise money and attract new recruits, and its focus on the US as a target for terrorist attacks. As the only al Qaeda leader whose authority was universally respected, he also maintained the group`s cohesion, it said.
The CIA said in the early morning hours of May 2 in Pakistan, a US military raid of an al Qaeda compound in Abbottabad killed America`s most wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden.
The mission`s success was the culmination of many years of complex, thorough, and highly-advanced intelligence operations and analysis led by the CIA with support from partners across the Intelligence community.
US agencies had been collecting intelligence about the compound since it was discovered in August, 2010. Multiple streams of intelligence led to the assessment that bin Laden was hiding there, protected by two of his closest
facilitators, it said. The strike on the compound, authorised by the President on April 29, was a surgical raid by a small team of special operations forces.
The raid was designed to minimise collateral damage and to pose as little risk as possible to non-combatants on the compound or to Pakistani civilians in
the neighborhood, it noted.
The compound where bin Laden was hiding is in Abbottabad, a town in Pakistan`s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province (formerly the Northwest Frontier Province), about 35 miles north of Islamabad, CIA said.
The compound and its main residence had extensive security features: high walls topped with barbed wire, double entry gates, opaque windows, no apparent Internet or telephone connection, and the residents burned their trash. It was valued at USD 1 million, but the two al Qaeda facilitators who
owned it had no apparent source of wealth, the CIA said.
Along with the statement on its successful operation against Osama bin Laden, CIA also released a set of five pictures including that of its Director Leon Panetta at the control room while the operation was going on in Pakistan.
It also posted on its website five messages from the public congratulating CIA on this operation.
"Congratulations on your outstanding work in locating Osama bin Laden. You and the current organisation should be recognised by a special presidential and/or congressional award, like the Medal of Honour for conspicuous outstanding service, organisational achievement, and analytical
brilliance," one of the messages said.
"Once his location was obtained, the military operational forces created the slam dunk that culminated in a textbook capture....Thank you for your lifetime commitment to outstanding public service and leaving a legacy of intelligent and effective organisational management always directed for
the public good," another message from the public said.