US considered tunnelling to bin Laden: Report

US commanders of the raid on Osama bin Laden considered a more down-to-earth way of entering his compound than swooping in by helicopter, a report said Tuesday.

New York: US commanders of the raid on Osama
bin Laden considered a more down-to-earth way of entering his
compound than swooping in by helicopter, a report said Tuesday.
Tunnelling.
The short-lived idea would have avoided ground troops
having to sneak through the nearby town of Abbottabad as they
penetrated the walled house where the Al-Qaeda leader was
hiding, The New Yorker reported.

Planners also had to consider the possibility that their
quarry might himself have tunnels ready for an escape.

In the end, though, they determined from satellite photos
that the water table was probably just below the surface of
the surrounding flat land and that tunneling was highly
unlikely to be successful.

A less exotic option for striking bin Laden was to bomb
from the sky. The New Yorker article detailed how then
secretary of defense Robert Gates preferred a strike by B-2
Spirit bombers to sending in troops.
However, to be sure of destroying the house and any
fortified bunker underneath would require such a massive
bombardment that it would result in Abbottabad feeling "the
equivalent of an earthquake," James Cartwright, the then
vice-chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told The New
Yorker.

President Barack Obama disliked that idea and said the
helicopter raid should go ahead.

The spectacular incursion by the United States into a
supposedly allied country`s territory and the row over bin
Laden`s long-time presence there triggered a crisis in
US-Pakistani relations.

PTI

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