London: World`s most wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden escaped US and British forces, closing in on
his cave-haven hacked into the mountainside, with the help of
a Pakistani warlord who provided guides to take him to safety
in northeastern Afghanistan.
The al Qaeda supremo`s successful flight from Tora
Bora mountains in Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan has long
been seen one of the key early lapses of the international
military effort in Afghanistan and though various theories
have floated no firm account how Bin laden evaded the US
forces has yet emerged.
The new details about the escape have emerged from
interrogation reports of the Guantanamo Bay detainees and one
account claims that local Pakistani militant commander Maulvi
Noor Mohammad aided Bin Laden`s escape.
Guardian newspaper said that in documents obtained by
it, Mohammad provided 40-50 fighters to escort a trapped Bin
Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri to safety following
intervention of a senior al Qaeda commander known as Abu Torab
in mid-December 2001.
But Guardian said corroboration of the account was
difficult to obtain as Mohammad was reportedly shot dead by
unknown gunmen in the militancy hotbed of Miramshah in
Pakistan`s north Waziristan tribal agency.
Three weeks after capturing Kabul in December 2001, US
forces launched an operation to kill or capture the alleged
mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
More than 100 western special forces backed by
thousands of Afghans closed in on the targets after 10 days of
Previously, it was said that Bin Laden escaped south
from Tora Bora into Pakistan. However, in two accounts from
Guantanamo Bay detainees, Bin Laden and Zawahiri slipped
through the lines of coalition forces and headed north to a
safe house of an Afghan sympathiser called Awal Malim Gul near
the city of Jalalabad.
The duo rested there before travelling further on
horse back into the remote province of Kunar, where they were
to remain for 10 months.
If true, the new account to emerge is the most
detailed on the moments of the al Qaeda leadership after the
2000 campaign in Afghanistan.
It pictures a dismal state of affairs in which
al Qaeda chief was in as he had to borrow USD 7,000 from a
The account say that Bin Laden made his escape in a
hurry leaving most of his bodyguards on the mountains.
The two - Bin Laden and Zawahiri - separated after the
Tora Bora incident, while there has been no sighting reported
of Bin Laden, Zawahiri has been reported sighted in Karachi
and Pakistan`s tribal belt.