US Missed Chance to Capture bin Laden
If only we had sent a robust force to Afghanistan in Dec. 2001...
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2009 6:42 AM CST
Osama bin Laden was unquestionably within reach of US troops in the mountains of Tora Bora when military leaders made the crucial and costly decision not to pursue the terrorist leader with massive force.   (AP Photo, file)
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(Newser) – Though a new report concludes that doing away with Osama bin Laden eight years ago "would not have eliminated the worldwide extremist threat,” that hardly downplays its finding that the terror leader could have been captured by US forces in December 2001. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's report says that a robust American force could have barred bin Laden's escape in the Afghan mountains of Tora Bora; instead, a modest number battled about 1,000 al-Qaeda fighters led by bin Laden, reports the New York Times.

Bin Laden and deputy Ayman al-Zawahri were definitely at a cave complex he had previously occupied during the fight against Soviet forces, says the report. Prepared at Sen. John Kerry's request, it adds that Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar could have also been apprehended had it not been for Gen. Tommy Franks' and Donald Rumsfeld's much-criticized decision to not send a large number of troops to that area. The report blames the choice for “laying the foundation for today’s protracted Afghan insurgency and inflaming the internal strife now endangering Pakistan.”