Washington: The Navy SEAL team that carried out the Abottabad raid were told to capture Osama bin Laden if possible, the retired SEAL who has written a book about the raid has said.
The mission was ‘not a kill-only’ operation, the former SEAL, who has written the book ‘No Easy Day’ under the pseudonym ‘Mark Owen’, said in an interview.
During an interview with CBS News, Owen said: “It was made very clear to us throughout our training for this that, ‘Hey, if given the opportunity, this is not an assassination. You will capture him alive... if feasible’”.
“We’re not there to assassinate somebody. We weren’t sent in to murder him. This was, ‘Hey, kill or capture,’” Owen added.
Owen said that they flew from Afghanistan in two modified Blackhawk helicopters to bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
He said that Pakistan did not know they were coming so the helicopters, flown by the Army``s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, flew at tree-top level on a moonless night to avoid Pakistani air defenses, the report said.
During the interview, Owen said after they reached the target they carried out the mission as was planned, and they had only 30 minutes to complete the mission because of limited fuel in their chopper.
He said that as they prepared to slide down ropes into the compound everything went wrong in his chopper and it was about to crash.
Owen said that despite all the challenges they completed the mission successfully, but were not able to capture bin Laden alive.