ho is Osama Bin Laden?
The fugitive Osama Bin
Laden, currently in news for his suspected role in the terror attack
in World Trade Centre and FBI headquarters, is undoubtedly the most
wanted man for the US. At the same time, he is a hero for many young
people in the Arab world.
Born in Saudi Arabia to an wealthy
Yemeni family engaged in construction business, Bin Laden left Saudi
Arabia in 1979 to fight against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
The Afghan jihad was backed with American dollars and had
the blessing of the governments of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Ironically, he received security training from the CIA itself,
according to Middle Eastern analyst Hazhir Teimourian.
in Afghanistan, he founded the Maktab al-Khidimat, which recruited
fighters from around the world and imported arms and ammunitions to
aid the Afghan resistance against the Soviet army.
Soviet withdrawal, the "Arab Afghans", as Bin Laden's faction came
to be called, turned their fire against the US and its allies in the
Middle East. Bin Laden, meanwhile, returned to Saudi Arabia to work
in the family construction business, but was expelled in 1991
because of his anti-government activities there.
now believed to be in his 40s, spent the next five years in Sudan
until US pressure prompted the Sudanese government to expel him,
whereupon Bin Laden returned to Afghanistan. Bin Laden, an immensely
wealthy man, has been granted a safe haven by Afghanistan's ruling
Experts say his power is founded on a
personal fortune earned by his family's construction business in
Saudi Arabia. During his time in hiding, he has called for a holy
war against the US, and for the killing of Americans and Jews. Bin
Laden is reported to be able to rally around him up to 3,000
fighters. He is also suspected of helping to set up Islamic training
centres to prepare soldiers to fight in Chechnya and other parts of
the former Soviet Union.
The US State Department describes
him as "one of the most significant sponsors of Islamic extremist
activities in the world today". According to the US, Bin Laden was
involved in at least three major attacks - the 1993 World Trade
Center bombing, the 1996 killing of 19 US soldiers in Saudi Arabia,
and the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Africa and this
year's attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. In May this year, a US jury
convicted four men believed to be linked with Bin Laden of plotting
the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. ON THE
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