31 DECEMBER: SENIOR AFGHAN SAYS BIN-LADEN IS STILL IN AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan’s foreign minister, Abdullah Abdullah, has held a meeting with CIA officials in Kabul, and has told them local warlords believe Osama bin-Laden is still inside Afghanistan. According to Mr Abdullah, bin-Laden has been seen recently in a remote area to the east of the country travelling with some 200 of his personal guard.

The CIA, meanwhile, are being cautious about the report. They know that bin-Laden has several routes out of the country, including Iran.

MACABRE DELIVERY RECEIVED IN WASHINGTON: It is understood that the finger-tips of over 200 al-Qaida and Taliban fighters, killed in the fierce fighting for Tora Bora, have been sent back to America for DNA testing. This is because it has been impossible to identify the dead fighters following sustained bombing from USAF B-52s. Though it seems unlikely Osama bin-Laden was amongst the dead, the CIA believes some of the fighters were senior members of al-Qaida. A Pakistani source said the fingers were removed by US and British special forces in full agreement with the newly installed government in Kabul.

29 DECEMBER: CIA AND PAKISTAN’S ISI INTERROGATE AL-QAIDA PRISONERS

The CIA have received a boost in their hunt for Osama bin-Laden by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence Agency (ISI). The ISI have handed over some 200 foreign al-Qaida fighters who fled over the border into Pakistan. The men are being questioned at a base near Kandahar.

MI6 CLOSE IN ON “SHOE BOMBER’S” DUTCH COLLEAGUES: MI5 have now discovered that the man nicknamed “the shoe bomber” by Americans, acquired the C4 plastic explosives from a contact in Amsterdam, Netherlands. MI6, meanwhile, is collaborating with various intelligence services in an effort to retrace all Reid’s movements in 2001. Already they have learned that he visited Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Belgium, France and possibly Afghanistan. Analysts are working on the theory that Reid has met with other al-Qaida operatives. Mossad officials are also concerned that Reid met with members of Hamas when he visited Tel Aviv earlier this year.

MI6 and Dutch intelligence know that Reid traveled to Amsterdam on 7 December where he picked-up his customized training shoes. It is believed the SIS have already discovered who manufactured the shoes and that further arrests will follow. A team of CIA and FBI officers based in London have traveled to Amsterdam to liaise with their Dutch counterparts. - More in Eye Spy 7

28 DECEMBER: RUDOLPH GIULIANI BIDS FAREWELL TO NEW YORK CITY

Rudolph Giuliani said goodbye to New Yorkers yesterday in a small church where George Washington prayed after being made the first US President in 1789. He gave an emotional speech at New York’s oldest surviving public building - St. Paul’s Chapel on Broadway.

Mr Giuliani, who was voted Time magazine’s Person of the Year, will hand over to Michael Bloomberg, his Republican colleague, at an unprecedented swearing-in ceremony to be held at midnight on 31 December in Times Square, Manhattan. The huge event will be watched closely by over 7,000 police who have been given personal radiation detectors from US Customs. The devices will set off an alarm if radioactive materials are detected.

• It is believed Mr Giuliani heads a secret list of preferred candidates for the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

BIN-LADEN APPEARS AGAIN ON AL-JAZEERA: On 24 December, Eye Spy reported: “President Bush fears that Osama bin-Laden may make one last appearance on the satellite station al-Jazeera - bragging about a spectacular operation... or a forthcoming outrage. Intelligence sources say any new appearance on television could damage US resolve.”

Within hours a 33 minute video-tape featuring Osama bin-Laden had been shown on the station. In it he called on the economic destruction of the USA - an indication that he too realises the military might of America can not be challenged.

CIA analysts believe the recording was made some two-three ago, shortly after much of the Tora Bora area was overrun by NA forces.

‘BRITISH AIRLINER BOMBER’ MADE TRIP TO ISRAEL: Richard Reid, 28, who tried to blow up am American airliner en-route to Miami, and who also uses the name Tariq Raja, made a trip to Israel in July 2001. The purpose of his visit to Tel Aviv is currently being investigated by Mossad.

AFGHAN GOVERNMENT - “BIN-LADEN IN PAKISTAN”: A senior Afghan spokesman today said they had learned that Osama bin-Laden is “definitely” in Pakistan in the protective custody of a tribal leader who himself is shielded by rogue elements of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence Agency (ISI).

US SENDS AL-QAIDA PRISONERS TO CUBA: America has prepared a special facility at their military base on Cuba for captured al-Qaida and Taliban prisoners. The first members of Osama bin-Laden’s seriously damaged organization are expected to arrive by 7 January.

27 DECEMBER: MORE “FLOATING BOMB” SHIPS ON THE WAY

MI5 believe that the cargo ship The Nisha, boarded by British Intelligence in the English Channel, and described as a “floating bomb”, could have been a decoy for other vessels moving to designated places. Further information is not available,

26 DECEMBER: PHOTO IS NOT OF MULLAH OMAR

Tribal leaders in Afghanistan have told CIA officers engaged in the search for Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, that the blurred image published all over the world, is not that of Omar. Abdul Qadim, a pilot with Afghanistan’s Ariana airline said: “We are the only people who had a president with a face no one knew. Mullah Omar could have sat in my plane and I would not have known.”

• Intelligence sources still maintain Mullah Omar is in the country. A huge search is now being conducted north of Khandahar.

US ANALYSTS SUSPECT BIN-LADEN COULD BE DEAD: Some leading military advisors believe the lack of intelligence on bin-Laden’s whereabouts could mean he has been killed in the ferocious bombing raids over the Tora Bora area. CIA officers in Afghanistan have been briefing hundreds of local tribal leaders on the huge sums of monies being offered for the arrest of bin-Laden and other al-Qaida leaders. However, little information has been acquired despite an intense search. Intelligence officials have not ruled out the possibility that bin-Laden and Taliban leader, Mullah Omar have been smuggled out of the country several weeks ago. Yet there is a “distinct possibility,” one intelligence source told Eye Spy, that he has been killed, and news of the death of bin-Laden, is being “kept secret” for fear of turning him into a martyr.

• The Pentagon remains adamant that the Afghan convoy attacked yesterday was a “legitimate target.” Over 60 people died in the operation.

24 DECEMBER: BIN-LADEN PLANNED “CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR”

Eye Spy learned weeks ago that Osama bin-Laden had ordered a “severe” response to the collapse of his regime in Afghanistan. According to reliable sources, there have been various terrorist attempts throughout December in several countries. For security purposes, these have remained secret.

• MI5 and MI6 are investigating a possible link with the failed attempt to blow-up American Airlines Flight 63, and the cargo ship The Nisha, boarded by British Intelligence in the English Channel, which was described as a “floating bomb”.

AA FLIGHT 63 - TERROR SUSPECT HOLDS BRITISH PASSPORT: American Airlines Flight 63, from Paris to Miami, which was forced to land in Boston yesterday, was potentially seconds from disaster, according to senior FBI officials. Passengers grappled with Tariq Raja, 28, when they noticed smoke issuing from his training shoes. The Boeing 767 which was flying over the Atlantic, was packed with passengers heading to America for Christmas. A steward noticed Raja fiddling with his shoes, in fact, he was trying to detonate “improvised explosives” buried in the heel of each shoe.

Cabin crew called for assistance and several civilians subdued him before the explosives ignited. An FBI official said that there was sufficient explosive material to have downed the airliner.

24 hours earlier, Raja, who is British, tried to board a flight to American from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. He was turned away because of his “strange and bizarre behaviour.” Now security agents in France, Britain and America are demanding to know why he was allowed on the next day - without further security checks.

SEVEN BRITISH CHARITIES - AL-QAIDA LINK?: Scotland Yard have revealed that the Charity Commission in England is investigating seven British charities for supplying money and/or laundering cash for Osama bin-Laden’s al-Qaida network.

23 DECEMBER: NINE NAMES OF HIJACKERS ON BIN-LADEN VIDEO-TAPE

New independent analysis of the bin-Laden video tape has thrown up further surprises. The tape, discovered recently in Kabul, shows bin-Laden talking openly of his intimate knowledge of the 11 September attack. Initially the CIA said that only Mohammad Atta’s name could be heard. However, new analysis has managed to pick out the names of nine other hijackers.

22 DECEMBER: 65 DEAD AS US FIGHTERS DESTROY CONVOY IN AFGHANISTAN

The Pentagon said that US fighters and helicopter gunships destroyed a convoy of 12 vehicles to the east of Kabul. US military intelligence said that they had received “reliable information” that the vehicles were carrying senior al-Qaida and Taliban commanders. However, local sources say the people traveling in the convoy were local warlords on their way to Kabul for the inaugural meeting of the new Afghani government.

There is little evidence yet to support the al-Qaida theory.

BIN-LADEN VIDEO-TAPE US TRANSLATION “NOT CORRECT”: Controversy has arisen concerning the CIA’s translation of the video tape found in Afghanistan that shows Osama bin-Laden admitting his role in the 11 September US attacks. Leading Arab translators say that they have heard the names of at least two other Saudi hijackers being mentioned. The CIA only identified Mohammed Atta. More strange, however, is the several references to Saudi Arabia - indeed, one of those present in the room is a Saudi. Some analysts believe such references were deliberately dropped from the transcript for fear of upsetting Saudi Arabia - a leading member of the coalition.

The Pentagon dismissed any irregularities.

21 DECEMBER: ROYAL NAVY BOARD SUSPECTED TERROR SHIP

An elite anti-terrorist unit attached to the Royal Navy boarded a transport ship in the English Channel after MI6 had been given intelligence information concerning its cargo. The huge vessel which was carrying sugar to a factory in England was forced to dock far away from large populations on the Isle of Wight. Intelligence sources say the vessel, which passed Somalia and Yemen, could be carrying anthrax or chemical weapons.

It is known that al-Qaida have threatened to hit a major target in the UK. Similarly, Osama bin-Laden has shipping interests and the vessel could well have been linked to the terrorist by MI6.

US “FREEZES” ASSETS OF 153 “TERROR GROUPS”: 100 days on from the 11 September strikes, Washington has announced that the assets of over 150 groups with alleged links to terrorist organisations has been frozen. Many of the groups are “charities.”

• The death toll of the 11 September attacks now stands at 2992.

19 DECEMBER: PAKISTAN DETAIN HUNDREDS OF FLEEING AL-QAIDA MEMBERS

Some 400 people, including around 60 Arab members of al-Qaida who fought in the Tora Bora area have been arrested by Pakistan as they fled across the border.

• A spokesman for Osama bin-Laden says he is still in Afghanistan fighting US and NA fighters. The report is being analysed by US commanders.

• A 50ft-high piece of lattice work from the northern tower of the Word Trade Centre has been removed and may be erected as a permanent memorial at the site. Richard Sheirer, director of the Office of Emergency Management said: “It will be secured and used as part of a memorial.” A section from the south tower was stored weeks ago.

“CIA DID NOT PRODUCE BIN-LADEN TAPE”: President Bush has spoken out against allegations that the CIA “manufactured” the videotape that he said was a “devastating declaration of guilt.” He claimed it was “preposterous to think that it had been doctored,” and added: “That’s just a feeble excuse to provide weak support for a very evil man.”

Many of bin-Laden’s supporters outside Afghanistan believe the CIA and Hollywood conspired to produce the tape. However, several journalists and analysts who have studied the tape are in no doubt it is authentic.

18 DECEMBER: OSAMA BIN-LADEN AIDED BY ISI AGENTS

CIA sources are convinced Osama bin-Laden could have escaped across the border with help from some renegade agents of Pakistan’s ISI agency. Though publicly still maintaining bin-Laden is trapped inside southeast Afghanistan, privately Washington now acknowledges he has given coalition forces the slip.

CIA SPECIAL ‘SAD’ AGENTS MOVE INTO AFRICA: It is our understanding that several CIA officers have been assisting a number of African states in identifying al-Qaida training camps. CIA units have been active in Yemen, Kenya and Somalia as a result of intelligence gleaned from captured al-Qaida fighter in Afghanistan.

INDIAN PARLIAMENT ATTACKERS - AL-QAIDA LINK: A group of men who attacked the parliament building in Delhi last week, in which a dozen people were killed, had close links with Osama bin-Laden and al-Qaida. The group, known as Lashkar-e-Toiba (Army of the Pure), had been identified by the US State Department as one of a dozen terrorist groups which are under the al-Qaida “umbrella.”

16 DECEMBER: AL-QAIDA TERRORIST CELL IN UK

SCOTLAND'S giant Forth Road Bridge could be on a hit-list of targets earmarked by a six-man al-Qaida terrorist cell still operating in the UK.

Intelligence sources claim that the group has been responsible for 'mapping' the list of targets that includes prominent buildings, bridges and nuclear facilities - and even the Houses of Parliament.

The astonishing revelations don't stop there. Officials claim that in March this year two suspected members of al-Qaida were caught abseiling down a busy London bridge at the dead of night. Incredibly, the two were freed after they explained they were just there to paint protest graffiti - and were dismissed as pranksters. However,
intelligence officers later discovered that a vehicle carrying four men linked to alQaida, and loaded with explosives, was en-route for the same bridge when the two suspects were stopped.

In the light of the events of September 11, security officials now believe this was certainly a foiled attempt at blowing up a bridge. They are aware that any al-Qaida attack would have to be spectacular in order to generate
the publicity they thrive on.

In early November, MI5 received information that suggested the al-Qaida cell may have been on a reconnaissance mission in Manchester. Analysts believe the huge flyover near Manchester's Trafford centre was the likely target. At the same time, similar warnings were being issued in America by the FBI. The FBI now have a permanent team based in London. Al-Qaida's primary target in the USA was San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. One source added, 'The intelligence services are hunting for the British alQaida cell right now. At the weekly meeting of the War Committee, MI5, MI6 and GCHQ officials took the unusual steps of advising cabinet members directly to review all their travel arrangements in anticipation of a direct attempt on their lives."

Mark Birdsall, the editor of Eye Spy magazine, claims that the terror cell is still looking for potential targets all over Britain. He is in receipt of sections from an al-Qaida training manual recovered in Kabul. Alongside diagrams of how to use explosives and set booby traps etc intelligence officers found a diagram of a bridge.

Chillingly, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the unique suspension structure of the Forth Road Bridge. It bears the unusual criss-cross supports between the upright stantions as seen on the Forth Road Bridge. Wylie Cunningham, of the Institution of Structural Engineers, said, "This diagram closely resembles the Forth Road Bridge. Since the event of September 11 questions have been asked about structures all over Britain and
the USA."
But Gordon Masterton - Director of the Babtie Broup, a Trustee on the board of the Forth Bridges and an expert on terror threats to large structures - is not convinced. He said, "This diagram could be a general representation of suspension bridges. However, since the attacks on the USA there has been a call to attention on the matter of security of all large structures. During World War 2 the Forth Rail Bridge had guard points and armaments, but these don't seem appropriate for peacetime."

It's believed that British intelligence officials have travelled to India to interrogate an al-Qaida suspect arrested there last week. Apparently he had attended the same flight training school in Florida, as that used by the 11
September hijackers. He told Indian intelligence officers that he had paid over £100,000 for his lessons. The plan was to hijack an airliner bound for Manchester with a view to flying it instead into the Houses of Parliament.

15 DECEMBER: AL-QAIDA’S CLEVER BLUFF?

B-52 bombers continue to attack a hillside in the Tora Bora mountain range where some US military and Northern Alliance commanders believe Osama bin-Laden is trapped. This assumption is based upon fierce al-Qaida resistance in the area. However, Eye Spy analysts believe this “resistance” could be a clever military ploy to divert attention away from other areas currently being used as escape routes.”

14 DECEMBER: WASHINGTON RELEASES BIN-LADEN “TAPE OF GUILT”

President Bush told officials to release a videotape of Osama bin-Laden that clearly shows he had advance knowledge about the attacks on the USA. Translated by four translators hired by Washington. Middle East journalists based in London have said the tapes are authentic.

Osama bin-Laden: “We calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy, who would be killed based on the position of the tower. We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all (inaudible) due to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and allthe floors above it only. This is all that we had hoped for.

“We were at (inaudible) when the event took place. We had notification since the previous Thursday that theevent would take place that day. We had finished our work that day and had the radio on. It was 5:30 p.m. our time. I was sitting with Dr. Ahmad Abu-al-(Khair). Immediately, we heard the news that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We turned the radio station to the news from Washington. The news continued and no mention of the attack until the end. At the end of the newscast, they reported that a plane just hit the World Trade Center.... After a little while, they announced that another plane had hit the World Trade Center. The brothers who heard the news were overjoyed by it.

“The brothers, who conducted the operation, all they knew was that they have a martyrdom operation and we asked each of them to go to America, but they didn’t know anything about the operation, not even one letter. But they were trained and we did not reveal the operation to them until they are there and just before they boarded the planes.

“These young men (inaudible) said in deeds, in New York and Washington, speeches that overshadowed all other speeches made everywhere else in the world.

“Those who were trained to fly didn’t know the others. One group of people did not know the other group.

13 DECEMBER: B1-B AIRCRAFT CRASHES IN INDIAN OCEAN - CREW RESCUED

A B1-bomber has crashed in the Indian Ocean about 60 miles north of the British military facility on the island of Diego Garcia. The base was being used by US warplanes in the war against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The four-man crew was successfully rescued.

“OSAMA BIN-LADEN HAS ESCAPED”: Eye Spy magazine was informed around two weeks ago that the world’s most wanted man had fled Afghanistan via a remote border crossing with Pakistan. His final destination was said to be Somalia. Today, rumours abounded in US intelligence circles that this is the case. Eye Spy’s data was supplied by a Pakistani source.

12 DECEMBER: BUSH PREPARES TO RELEASE BIN-LADEN VIDEO

White House sources say that President Bush is determined to release part of a video tape showing Osama bin-Laden admitting his role in the 11 September attack. On the tape he allegedly smiles and says... “it went better than I had hoped.” The video was discovered in a Kabul room previously used by al-Qaida fighters, though few other details are available. The delay concerning its showing on public television is due to analysts authenticating the tape.

• Osama bin-Laden also found humorous the fact that some of the hijackers had no idea they were going on a suicide mission. It is believed that of the 19 terrorists who died, only six knew of their mission. This would explain why very few of the terrorists left suicide notes.

PAKISTAN’S INTELLIGENCE AGENCY HELPED TALIBAN: The New York Times says it has learned that one-month into the Afghan conflict, Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence agency) drove two convoys of lorries loaded with arms to waiting Taliban officials. Beneath tarpaulins were rifles, grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and ammunitions. The ISI had many sympathetic officers to the Taliban in its ranks.

Pakistan’s General Musharaaf quickly closed the convoy route which went through the Khyber Pass enroute to Kabul.

CIA RECEIVE OVER 15,000 APPLICATIONS: Eye Spy has been told by a reliable intelligence source, that the Central Intelligence Agency have received some 15,000 job applications since 11 September.

11 DECEMBER: NSA AND NRO SATELLITES ‘MAPPING’ AL-QAIDA NORTH AFRICA TERROR CAMPS

Intelligence sources in Washington say the National Security Agency and National Reconnaissance Office, are working together to identify suspected al-Qaida terrorist training camps in Somalia, Sudan and other countries. The intelligence gained will undoubtedly be used in future operations.

OSAMA BIN-LADEN-AL-QAIDA MEMBERSHIP NUMBERS: Eye Spy has learned that CIA analysts believe Osama bin-Laden’s al-Qaida terrorist network has an estimated 60,000 followers in 60 countries. Senior officials believe even if their leader is captured or killed, the war against the world’s biggest terror group will continue for years to come.

MI5 SUSPECT SUICIDE BOMBING ‘IMMINENT’: It is our understanding that at Britain’s weekly meeting between senior military and intelligence heads and Downing Street, that the threat of suicide bombers in London is now being taken very seriously. This follows similar statements issued out of Washington.

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY “WINNING SPY GAME”: Following the 11 September attacks on civilian targets in the USA, the CIA was heavily criticized over its lack of knowledge regarding the al-Qaida cells in the USA. However, George Tenet, CIA Director, held a private briefing with President Bush, who thanked him for his efforts in bringing down the Taliban movement and seriously damaging the al-Qaida terrorist network. The CIA lost its 79th Agent, Johny ‘Mike’ Spann as he attempted to question al-Qaida prisoners.

BRITISH SOLDIER LOSES A LEG AT BAGRAN AIR BASE: It is understood that a British soldier stationed at Bagran air base near Kabul, has stood on a land main and been seriously injured. The soldier, was airlifted to a US military hospital in Germany.

8 DECEMBER: TALIBAN LEADER MULLAH MUHAMMAD CAPTURE

The Pentagon are playing down reports that Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad has been detained by a local warlord on the outskirts of Kandahar. However, Khaled Pashtoon, a spokesman for a Kandahar commander said: “Omar is being held in a friendly Taliban environment.” It is understood CIA agents are investigating the claim, but it does does likely Omar will be handed over to US intelligence in the next few days.

BRITISH SECRET INTELLIGENCE SERVICE SAY BIN-LADEN STILL IN AFGHANISTAN: Tony Blair has told journalists that he has been informed Osama bin-Laden is still in Afghanistan and has not fled. Reports say that he still in the Tora Bora area. The information was provided for by MI6.

GERMAN INTELLIGENCE ARREST ‘AL-QAIDA AGENT’: Intelligence reports from Germany suggest that an al-Qaida suspect has been arrested. The man apparently had a Hamburg bank account in the name of one of the 11 September suicide pilots. See Eye Spy 6

FBI SAY ANTHRAX LINKED TO US GERM WARFARE: The FBI suspect that the anthrax attacks that have left five civilians dead could well have been produced by someone working in the US military biological warfare programme.

7 DECEMBER: OSAMA BIN-LADEN HAS FLED TORA BORA AREA

Northern Alliance fighters have searched a huge cave complex in the Tora Bora area which many analysts thought was hosting bin-Laden and members of his al-Qaida network. However, NA fighters say he is not in the area. One of the exit points in the cave is close to the Pakistan border and he may well have escaped. Bin-Laden still has supporters in this area, though Washington believes he could have fled weeks ago.

• In Kandahar meanwhile, Mullah Omar and members of the Taliban council have also fled. The city is now in the grip of the NA.

BIN-LADEN NUMBER TWO KILLED IN BOMBING RAID: Eye Spy magazine has received unconfirmed reports that suggest that al-Qaida’s Ayman Zawahiri - given the CIA codeword of ‘warm-up man’ due to his frequent appearances on video footage prior to bin-Laden, has been dead for at least three days. Washington is refusing to speculate on the rumour but it seems increasingly likely bin-Laden has lost his key Egyptian-born ally.

Ayman Zawahiri

OSAMA BIN-LADEN’S SON KILLED: Informed sources within Pakistan say that one of Osama bin-Laden’s sons was killed in a huge explosion in the mountains around Tora Bora. Intelligence sources say the underground complex was built at a huge cost of $25m dollars - monies that came from the Central Intelligence Agency. Indeed, Eye Spy has been told that one escape route from the complex leads to Pakistan.

It is now believed that British SAS soldiers have been given the green light to try and capture Osama bin-Laden. One obscure report says that the leader of the al-Qaida network has probably escaped or alreay been killed. It is known the that the CIA will not acknowledge his death if the world’s most wanted man is captured.

SADDAM KNOWS HE IS ‘TARGET 2’: Saddam Hussein has moved his major chemical weapons factory in response to a number of statements made by US President George Bush, and in view of the act that it is becoming increasingly evident, the anthrax found and analysed in the USA, may well have originated in Iraq. MI6, we are told, has discovered that much activity has been reported in the north of the country around Hemrin.

• Eye Spy also learned that the Pentagon has produced a ‘model’ of those countries it holds responsible for terrorism. The operation is known as Target and Baghdad will be attacked before the end of 2002, according to analysts. George Bush has told close colleagues that Saddam will be overthrown. Such a scenario could explain Iran’s low-key response to events in Afghanistan.

MI5 FORMING ELITE UNIT TO TRACE TERROR MONIES: It is our understanding that Britain’s Security Service, MI5, is establishing an elite financial unit to trace monies belonging to suspected terrorist organisations. Around six persons will liaise with various authorities around the world to acquire data to be placed on a sophisticated computer network, thus allowing instant access from participating nations.

6 DECEMBER: SEVERAL US SOLDIERS KILLED AS WRONG COORDINATES ARE SUPPLIED

Three US soldiers and five Northern Alliance fighters were killed by a bomb dropped from a B-52 bomber over southern Afghanistan. The coordinates for the bomb-drop were supplied by special forces on the ground.

80 RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS IN KABUL: Moscow has deployed around 80 intelligence officers in the city of Kabul to examine papers recovered in several al-Qaida command centres. The Kremlin say the men are simply there to help rebuild the damaged Russian Embassy.

5 DECEMBER: FBI BELIEVE AL-QAIDA MAY USE ‘DIRTY BOMB’

Recent warnings issued by the US Government regarding another possible terrorist attack are in relation to al-Qaida and the detonation of a ‘dirty bomb’. Recent reports suggest Osama bin-Laden acquired a number of ‘suitcase-size’ devices from renegade Russian scientists and military officials. Russia produced around 3,000 such weapons of which 10% cannot be accounted for.

• In EYE SPY 5, we have a major feature on ‘suitcase-sized nuclear bombs’

ISRAEL ‘WITHIN A WHISPER’ OF KILLING ARAFAT: Israeli gunships destroyed a building just 50 yards from where Yasser Arafat was working. Intelligence analysts say that the attack undoubtedly intended to kill the Palestinian leader.

2 DECEMBER: PLOT TO ATTACK HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT

Intelligence officials say that have arrested a suspected al-Qaida terrorist who says he paid a substantial fee to a US-based air school for flying lessons. Sources say the it is the same facility used by three of the 11 September hijackers. The suspect claims he planned to hijack an airliner in London and destroy the Houses of Parliament.

CIA HAVE PLANS OF BIN-LADEN HIDEOUT: The Central Intelligence Agency are refusing to acknowledge that they have detailed plans and the location of several underground compounds in Afghanistan that are being used by the al-Qaida leader. During the Afghan-Soviet conflict, the CIA funded the construction of several extensive facilities.

CIA CLOSE IN ON OSAMA BIN-LADEN’S BANKER: The CIA is closing in on Osama bin-Laden’s banker - Shiekh Saiid, who is believed to have funded al-Qaida to the tune of $300 million a year. Saiid was supposed to have joined Osama bin-Laden in Afghanistan, but intelligence sources say, “he preferred the finer things in life.” The CIA, however, want to find Saiid because they believe he is financing another major attack on the USA.

NASA FEARS TERRORIST ATTACKS: NASA officials have liaised with US security services to place a 40 mile no-fly exclusion zone around Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour with a crew of six was supposed to fix a problem on the International Space Station.

30 NOVEMBER: PAKISTAN INTELLIGENCE SAY BIN-LADEN IS CLOSE TO BORDER

Intelligence officials from Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency said it had received “definite information” on the whereabouts of Osama bin-Laden. It is understood the ISI has identified and closed two escape routes in the Khyber and Bajur areas. These routes connect to Tora Bora where it is believed bin-Laden and hundreds of his al-Qaida followers are preparing to make a final stand.

KEY AL-QAIDA FIGHTERS CAPTURED: Several high-ranking fighters belonging to al-Qaida have been captured by Northern Alliance troops and handed over to the Americans. One is believed to be the son of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian cleric linked to a series of bomb plots including the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.

FBI SET TO OPEN ANTHRAX LETTER ABLE TO KILL 100,000: The FBI is preparing to open a letter known to contain anthrax spores capable of killing at least 100,000 people. Opening the letter represents a huge challenge to scientists, but scientists say it could well hold additional clues as to the identity of the sender. The letter was sent to Senator Patrick Leahy from New Jersey in October but was not detected until 16 November. The FBI have still not ruled out a connection with Iraq, though are fairly certain the sender is acting alone.

29 NOVEMBER: BRITISH SECRET INTELLIGENCE SERVICE HOME-IN ON BIN-LADEN

The Government has admitted that MI6 are helping to locate the exact whereabouts of Osama bin-Laden. There has been significant US troop movements near the village of Tora Bora, south of Jalalabad, previously the focal point of extensive bombing raids. It is understood that the Pentagon is extremely confident bin-Laden and numerous al-Qaida leaders are trapped in a cave complex that can house 1,000 people.

28 NOVEMBER: PAKISTAN - 24-HOUR BORDER SURVEILLANCE WILL TRAP BIN-LADEN

Pakistan has strengthened its huge 1,400 mile border with Afghanistan and begun 24-hour surveillance. Hundreds of ISI agents and army soldiers are preventing Osama bin-Laden and many of his al-Qaida bodyguards, from crossing the into Pakistan. ISI has also asked local tribal elders to monitor mountain crossings. One intelligence source in Islamabad said because of the $25m reward for bin-Laden, it is doubtful he could flee successfully.

28 NOVEMBER: CIA CONFIRMED DEAD IN AFGHANISTAN: Intelligence sources say that a US secret service officer killed in the Mazar-i-Sharif, was CIA agent Johny Spann from Alabama. He was attacked and beaten to death when he tried to question an al-Qaida fighter. His colleague, escaped. Several hundred al-Qaida fighters were being held in a compound after surrendering in Konduz. All were killed during the three-day revolt. Two US soldiers were also killed when a USAF bomb hit the wrong side of the prison compound.

27 NOVEMBER: WORLD TRADE CENTER NON-US DEATH TOLL SIGNIFICANT

From information culled from a number of wire service accounts, the estimates of dead and missing by country are:

Great Britain 300 India 250 Chile 250 Germany 230 (+130) Colombia 208 (-) Pakistan 200 Mexico 150 (-350) Turkey 120 (-11) Philippines 117 Russia 117 (+21) Israel 110 (-23) El Salvador 101 (+30) Honduras 100 (-) Nigeria 94 (+) Canada 63 (+) Australia new: 55 (+) Bangladesh 55 (+) Brazil 55 (-) Greece 50 (+) Japan 44 (-26) Ireland 44 (+) Netherlands 43 (-360) Hungary 41 (+)(missing) Italy 38 (-) Dominican Rep. 31 (+6) Ecuador 30 (-4) Poland 30 (+) South Korea 30 (+) Guyana 25 (+20) new: 21 (-4) Austria 27 (-) Japan 23 (-) Cambodia 20 Hong Kong 16 (-3) South Korea 15 (-) Czech Republic 15 (+5) Slovakia 10 (+) France 10 Spain 8 Yemen 8 (+) Jamaica 7 (+) new: 17 (+10) Taiwan 7 (-) Guatemala 6 (+) Haiti 6 (+) (may be more) Zimbabwe 6 Switzerland 5 (-101)

Yugoslavia 5 (+5) Iran 5 (+) Argentina 5 (+) Trinidad & Tobago 4 (+) new: 5 (+1) China 2 (-2) Portugal 4 (-) Egypt 4 (+) prob. more Belize 4 (+) new: 1 (-3) Malaysia 4 (-) Lebanon 3 (+) Panama 3 (+) Antigua & Barbuda 3 (+) new: 2 (-1) Grenada 3 (+) new: 2 (-1) Peru 3 (-) Belarus 3 (+) Venezuela 3 Barbados 3 (+) new: 4 (+1) Jordan 2 (+) New Zealand 2 Zimbabwe 2 (-) Thailand 2 Indonesia 2 (-) St.Kitts / Nevis 2 (+) new: 3 (+1) St.Vincent / Gren. 2 (+) new: 1 (-1) Paraguay 2 Ukraine 1 Ghana 1 (-) St Lucia 1 (+) Sri Lanka 1 (+) Uruguay 1 Bulgaria 1 (+) Belgium 1 Costa Rica 1 (+) Paraguay 1 (-) Burundi 1 (+) Kenya 1 Bahamas 1 (+) new: 0 (-1) Norway 1 Gambia 1 (+1) Sweden 1 Dominica new: 1 (+1) Guinea "Several missing" Senegal "Several missing" Denmark 0 (-1) Finland 0 (-1)

Data courtesy: Wayne Madsen

26 NOVEMBER: 1,000 US MARINES FLY INTO AFGHANISTAN

The Pentagon has announced that 1,000 US Marines are currently being deployed around 50 miles southwest of the city of Kandahar. Analysts believe it is the third stage in the hunt for Osama bin-Laden, and comes after air defences and the Taliban have all but been destroyed.

26 NOVEMBER: FOUR SAS OFFICERS INJURED IN AFGHAN FIREFIGHT: The British Ministry of Defence has announced that four UK soldiers have been injured in Afghanistan - one seriously. Eye Spy has learned that the men were operating in the far south of the country and were SAS men. It is believed they were a covert team searching locations where Osama bin-Laden may be hiding. The men were flown back to the UK and are currently receiving treatment in a Birmingham hospital.

25 NOVEMBER: FBI AND ‘MAJIC LANTERN’ PROJECT

Partial details have been released on an FBI research project that will enable the counterintelligence agency to upload software via emails into any computer and then send back information. The Majic Lantern project will be a major boost in the Agency’s fight against terrorism. Major software houses are cooperating, though some civil liberty groups are against the moves. See Eye Spy 6 for full details.

MANY AL-QAIDA TERRORISTS CAPTURED: Forces surrounding the besieged city of Konduz say they have captured dozens of foreign soldiers who are believed to have threads with al-Qaida. American CIA-SAD forces are believed to be helping the Northern Alliance in their attempts to identify moderate Taliban fighters who have swapped sides, and non-Afghans - who they want to question.

24 NOVEMBER: SENIOR AL-QAIDA COMMANDERS TRAPPED IN KONDUZ

Fleeing Taliban troops have told US special forces that hundreds of senior al-Qaida commanders are trapped in the northern city of Konduz. Though 20,000 Taliban soldiers are still inside the city, Northern Alliance troops have offered them free passage out; this does not apply to al-Qaida terrorists who have vowed to fight to the death. UN agencies have appealed for restraint.

US BOMBS AROUND KANDAHAR CAVES MAY INDICATE KNOWLEDGE OF BIN-LADEN’S WHEREABOUTS: The CIA have revealed that US bombers are targeting specific cave and underground locations in a small area east of the city of Kandahar - based on intelligence supplied by Russia. The raids could well indicate that America have reliable intelligence on the whereabouts of Osama bin-Laden.

CIA INTERCEPTED AL-QAIDA COMMUNICATIONS THREATENING ‘HIROSHIMA’: Eye Spy has learned that in 2000, the CIA intercepted a communication from an al-Qaida operative who spoke of unleashing “Hiroshima” against the United States. Remarkably, the message was discarded.

22 NOVEMBER: CIA PARAMILITARY FORCES CUT OFF BIN-LADEN ESCAPE ROUTES

Washington sources say that all routes around bin-Laden’s suspected whereabouts have been cut off by US forces. It is our understanding that these forces are under the command of the CIA’s SAD (Special Activities Division), which has also been hunting documentation in Afghanistan of overseas al-Qaida agents.

IRAQI INTELLIGENCE SOURCE BELIEVES US WILL ATTACK BAGHDAD: Iraqi officials have rejected continued US accusations that it is in possession of biological weapons, saying that the charge is aimed at paving the way for an all out assault by US forces once the war in Afghanistan has ended. Intelligence sources told Eye Spy that Iraq believes the USA will attack in 2002 - a claim rejected by Washington.

21 NOVEMBER: AL-QAIDA TERRORIST NETWORK SERIOUSLY DAMAGED - BRITAIN

The British Home Secretary, Jack Straw, has told journalists at a meeting in London, that intelligence reports say the al-Qaida network has been “seriously damaged.” Sources in Afghanistan say British intelligence officers - presumably MI6 - have also recovered a number of crucial items that reveal the names and locations of several of al-Qaida’s overseas agents.

‘MARTYR REQUEST’ FROM “CONCERNED BIN-LADEN”: The Central Intelligence Agency say Osama bin-Laden has told his son and senior aides that they must kill him if US or British special ground troops threaten to capture him, or close-in on his mountain hideout. An official says bin-Laden has asked for a “martyr’s” death rather than being captured by the “infidels.”

• Helicopters have flown dozens of more search troops into the mountains east of Kandahar and in Tora Bora, east of Jalabad, as the search for the Saudi renegade continues.

NEW YORK DEATH TOLL - DOWN TO 3,900: Emergency planning officials in New York City have announced that for the first time the death toll from the 11 September attacks on the city, have fallen below 4,000.

20 NOVEMBER: SPANISH INTELLIGENCE WRECK AL-QAIDA EUROPEAN NETWORK (EIGHT MEN DETAINED WHO PLOTTED 11 SEPTEMBER USA ATTACKS)

Eight alleged al-Qaida terrorists have been charged in Spain for plotting the 11 September attacks on America - and were shortly to embark upon a terrorist campaign in Europe, according to Spanish authorities. Eye Spy has learned that the men had been under investigation for nearly two years. Spain was recently given limited access to the Echelon spy network and it is thought that valuable intelligence was gathered resulting in the arrests of the men. Full story - Eye Spy 6.

POOR INTELLIGENCE LEAVES MANY CIVILIANS IN AFGHANISTAN DEAD: The Pentagon is under pressure to explain why a number of towns and villages liberated from the Taliban and now under Northern Alliance control, are still being bombed. At least a dozen people were killed and many more injured as B52’s struck ‘friendly targets’ in the north and west of the country. Observers say this is due to a lack of intelligence and communication on the ground.

CIA ‘SAD’ FORCES NOW OPERATING IN AFGHANISTAN: Around 40 CIA Special Activities Division officers are in Afghanistan acquiring information about the whereabouts of Osama bin-Laden and other al-Qaida commanders. According to Eye Spy sources, there has been some “differences of opinions” between SAD forces and other elements of the US military. CIA officers are thought to have total control of about eight Predator unmanned aerial vehicles under its control.

The special SAD force has been allocated $1 billion to find Osama bin-Laden.

US TESTING SPECIAL WEAPON: Reports from Moscow say that the USAF is conducting secret trials of Boeing‚s Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) in Northern Afghanistan. Mounted in a Lockheed AC-130 Spectre gunship, operating from a military airbase in
southern Uzbekistan, it has already provided support during the exfiltration of wounded US Special Forces personnel, from Afghanistan.

The ATL has a high-energy weapon-class laser that allows up to ten precision laser-shots from ten miles from the target. These can melt 16-guage steel. The accuracy of its fist-sized, contact spot ensures little or no collateral damage.

The US forces are taking advantage of the conflict to test other hi-tech kit in battlefield conditions. This has included Global Hawk, a high-flying experimental, unmanned spy plane, the U.S. Air Force's newest unmannedaerial vehicle [UAV]

18 NOVEMBER: OSAMA BIN-LADEN WITHIN US GRASP - INTELLIGENCE SOURCES

According to highly informed intelligence sources, Osama bin-Laden is trapped within a 30-mile area around 50 miles south of the city of Jalalabad. US and British special military units are in the area trying to establish his exact position.

17 NOVEMBER: US BOMBS KILL AL-QAIDA No.2 COMMANDER - MOHAMMED ATEF

There is growing evidence that Mohammed Atef, Osama bin-Laden’s chief military commander and at least six military aides have been killed in a bombing raid. Atef is believed by Washington to be the main architect of the 11 September atrocity in America.

Atef was allegedly killed in a USAF raid south of Kabul. "You can not say he's definitely dead until we see the body," said one official. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he could not confirm Atef's death, but added "the reports I've received seem authoritative." Rumsfeld said the information he has received indicates Atef was killed by an airstrike, rather than ground combat. Atef’s daughter is married to one of bin Laden's sons has been a senior al-Qaeda commander since 1996. Intelligence analysts say he would have been the next leader of the network.

BRITISH ROYAL MARINES OCCUPY AIRPORT: 100 British Royal Marines have occupied the airport at Kabul preparing the facility for humanitarian aid flights.

IRAN PRESS SAY OSAMA BIN-LADEN HAS FLED TO PAKISTAN: One of Iran’s major newspapers has said Osama bin-Laden has fled in a helicopter to Pakistan. The Pentagon has dismissed the report but some analysts say it could well be true.

16 NOVEMBER: 6,000 AL-QAIDA WARRIORS TRAPPED IN KONDUZ

Intelligence sources say upto 20,000 Taliban and al-Qaida soldiers are trapped within the northern city of Konduz. Northern Alliance commanders say at least 6,000 of the troops belong to Osama bin-Laden’s network. These men were based in a huge training camp a few miles south of the city when hostilities began. The camp was an early target for USAF bombers thus the men, mostly from Chechnya, Pakistan, Xinjiang province in China, and other Middle East countries, fled to the city.

The CIA has learned that at least two helicopters belonging to Osama bin-Laden have been used since the city was besieged to move senior commanders and friends of bin-Laden out of the area.

Northern Alliance leaders say they will take no prisoners from the city. One reason is because there have been reports that Taliban and al-Qaida men have emerged from their positions with their hands in the air - only to detonate explosives.

• At least 500 Taliban warriors were massacred in a school in the city of Mazari-i-Sharif. According to the NA, they refused to surrender.

CIA CHARTERS RUSSIAN HELICOPTERS IN AFGHANISTAN: The former Soviet military air base at Bagram, ten miles north of Kabul, has seen the arrival (November 15th) of 130 British and American Special Forces troops (Delta Force & SBS). They arrived from bases in Uzbekistan in unmarked Russian-built aircraft: Two camouflaged helicopters and a white-painted Antonov AN-72 Coaler jet STOL transport plane (devoid of identifying markings.) The CIA have chartered Russian-built helicopters from CIS countries and are using them on clandestine sorties into Afghanistan.

• During the 1979-1989 war in Afghanistan, Soviet forces lost 333 helicopters.

15 NOVEMBER: MI6 LEARN BIN-LADEN MOVING EVERY 24-HOURS

The White House says that it has “good information” that Osama bin-Laden is still in Afghanistan. Similarly, British intelligence sources say he is being moved every 24 hours because his al-Qaida guard do not trust the Taliban. Indeed, it is believed that word of the “huge 10 million dollar reward” for information leading to the arrest of the Saudi renegade has reached some elements of the Taliban.

CIA AND ELEMENTS OF TALIBAN DISCUSS BIN-LADEN: It is understood that some moderate elements of the Taliban have held discussions with CIA officers concerning the whereabouts of Osama bin-Laden. Several Taliban commanders who have now ‘switched’ sides to the United Front or Northern Alliance, have provided crucial intelligence about his whereabouts.

AL-QAIDA MEETING HOUSE TARGETED BY PREDATOR: The Pentagon has said that following intelligence a building that was hosting a meeting of senior al-Qaida members was identified and destroyed by missiles from a CIA-controlled Predator unmanned drone. Eye Spy has learned that over 30 people inside the building were presumed dead.

14 NOVEMBER: CIA AND MI6 OFFICERS IN KABUL

Eye Spy has learned that an Al-Qaida command and training centre has been found in the centre of Kabul. Thousands of documents have been recovered. It is believed the names of people associated with the network have also been retrieved.

Intelligence analysts told Eye Spy the speed of the Northern Alliance attack had caught out those occupying the centre leaving no time to destroy or remove the material.

13 NOVEMBER: TALIBAN WITHDRAW FROM KABUL

The precipitate withdrawal of Taliban forces from all non-Pushtun areas of Afghanistan has changed the military map decisively against them in a matter of four days. The surprise defeat of the Taliban in its most formidable garrison of Konduz on Monday completed the Afghan opposition’s control of northern Afghanistan and was quickly compounded by the almost simultaneous fall of the important north-western city of Herat.

The Northern Alliance had gone too far and fast for the United States to prevent their occupation of Kabul, despite President Bush's wish for the opposition army to defer its entry into the capital. The urgent need for a broad-based post-Taliban government to be created to avoid the risk of a major civil war and the bloodshed that is bound to follow has been effectively sidelined by the Northern Alliance advance.

The United States now risks becoming a victim of its own success, it has sponsored a victory by an unpleasant, uneasy alliance of ethnic Northern warlords whose agenda does not necessarily match that of the Western coalition beyond defeating their arch rivals the Taliban. The fall of Kabul and the retreat of the Taliban into their own tribal areas is a nightmare for Pakistan and the resentment in Islamabad at the US arm twisting that led to their official abandonment of their allies in Afghanistan is growing by the day.

NEW YORK AIRLINER CRASH - “NOT A TERRORIST ACTION”. OVER 260 DEAD: An American Airlines A-300 Airbus carrying 246 passengers and nine crew has crashed on buildings in the Queens district of New York City. Loud explosions were heard shortly before Flight 587 tumbled to the ground. Eye witnesses saw an engine actually fall off the wing. The US Federal Aviation Authority released a statement saying that “there is no information as yet that points to a terrorist attack.”

Other eyewitnesses say that the plane was in serious trouble and appeared to “fold in two,” before nose-diving to the ground.

Debris fell on the area and at least six people in the area died. There were no survivors from the aircraft which was heavily laden with fuel for its flight.

Fearing another terrorist attack the Pentagon say four USAF fighter aircraft were scrambled and New York went on the highest alert. Bridges and tunnels were closed.

Flight 587 was enroute from JFK to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic flying at around 5,000ft at the time.

200 firefighters rushed to the scene and attended at least twelve large fires in Queens which is the most densely populated area of NYC.

* The FBI who initially said an explosion occurred onboard Flight 587 just before the airliner crashed, have now retracted that statement.

* President Bush said the investigation was being handled by civil authorities, a significant clue that Washington is not treating this incident as a terrorist action. Similarly, Colin Powell stated he was informed the crash was an accident.

* The FBI said the black box had been recovered and was being examined.

* No message from the crew prior to crash was received by ground controllers indicating the crew suspected nothing was wrong.

* Flight 587 seen to be issuing smoke when taking off from JFK.

 

AIRBUS-A-300

Type- large capacity, long haul airliner
Accommodation 2 pilots 330 passengers
Dimensions:
Length 177ft 11in (54.08m)
Wingspan 147ft 1in (44.84m)
Height 54ft 6in (16.62m)
Weights:
Empty 197686lb (89670kg)
Max T/O 375885lb (170500kg)
Payload 65500lb (29710kg)
Perofrmance:
Cruising Speed Mach 0.80
Range 4664 miles (7505km)
Power Plant 2 General Electric CF6-80 C2a1 turbo fans
Thrust 59000lb (262.4 kN)
Variants
A300B2 Basic Version
A300B4 Leading Edge Flaps
A300-600 Increased Capacity
A300-600R Increased Range

 

There are no records of an engine dropping off an Airbus, though each engine is fastened to wing by bolts which can be disengaged so engine can be removed for servicing etc.

Courtsey: Andy Kelley

NORTHERN ALLIANCE TAKE THE CITY OF KABUL: Northern Alliance forces have taken the city of Kabul. There was virtually no resistance. Earlier in the day NA troops guided by US and British military advisors broke through Taliban lines in the north and west of Afghanistan. Two major battles took place some 10 miles north of the capital.

Without any air cover the Taliban forces suffered heavy casualties from US warplanes even prior to the arrival of some 6,500 NA troops.

Intelligence reports from Pakistan say Afghan Taliban troops are switching sides in huge numbers, though foreign soldiers are continuing to fight. Northern Alliance agents in Kabul reports dozens of trucks carrying significant numbers of Taliban troops are moving out of the city and heading south.

FIGHTING IN KANDAHAR: According to some reports, there is a Pushtun rebellion in Kandahar, possibly led by Hamid Karzai. The rebels have captured the city's airport and may be waiting for reinforcements of United States Special Force units to make a concerted effort to overthrow the Taliban regime.

12 NOVEMBER: MI6 AND CIA BELIEVE OSAMA BIN-LADEN WILL FLEE

MI6 and the CIA are convinced contingency plans are in place to help Osama bin-Laden escape from Afghanistan. It was initially believed bin-Laden and leading al-Qaida warriors could simply move into Pakistan; however, it is now clear Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Services-Intelligence Agency) would detain him.

• The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that British troops are now operating inside Afghanistan. Media outlets have said the troops are either SAS or SBS troops, though this is unlikely as both Services are known to have been inside the country directing USAF warplanes since the offensive began.

• Intelligence sources say at least two complexes near Kabul thought to have stored chemical weapons have been destroyed by USAF fighters.

• Unconfirmed intelligence reports reaching Eye Spy suggest certain more moderate elements of the Taliban are beginning to turn on their close associates in the Taliban blaming them for the imminent overthrow of the Kabul regime. These reports have also reached the CIA who now believe that the regime may “self-destruct.”

11 NOVEMBER: TALIBAN LOSE CONTROL OF MAJOR CROSSROADS

The first major crack in the Talibans defiance

General Dostum has finally regained the main city in the Uzbek region of Afghanistan following a classical use of tactical airpower by the United States to open up the defences of Mazar-i-Sharif. A psychological as well as a physical victory over the Taliban and of considerable importance to the coalition forces in opening a winter land route for additional ground forces, the provision of new weapons and humanitarian aid to help establish firm United Front control of the northern provinces of the country.

Though the Taliban certainly lost significant portions of its forces, the majority of the five main force battalion-sized groups withdrew in the days before the final assault and the Taliban have followed this with a quick withdrawal of its exposed units from the areas around Sheberghan, Andkhvoy and Meymaneh to the west of Mazar-i-Sharif. To the east the towns of Taliqan and indeed Aybak in Samargan province may already have fallen, providing a major problem for the safe withdrawal of a Taliban Brigade sized unit on the Tajik border. The Taliban are now likely to accept the loss of the entire northern half of Afghanistan and after a show of defiance in Kondoz, withdraw all their forces from the non-Pashtun provinces, shortening both their highly vulnerable supply lines and ensuring sufficient units to man a new and much more defensible line to the south.

What next for the Taliban?

As AFI suggested in September, the Taliban are unlikely to make more than a token defence of the main cities if attacked and now after some five weeks of extensive bombing must be even more certain that fixed defences anywhere other than in mountainous terrain just provide neat targets for air strikes and special forces. Many of their most effective and loyal units have already withdrawn to redoubts in the various mountain chains, well protected, well supplied and well armed, with significant ammunition supplies these forces will prove virtually impossible for even the victorious United Front-Northern Alliance forces to winkle out.

Unless the Taliban's hold on the Pushtun people can be seriously undermined soon, a long winter war largely fought by US and its allies Special Forces seems inevitable. The capture of Mazar-i-Sharif and hopefully Bagram airbase quite soon will be invaluable both for these operations and the build up to a larger ground offensive in the spring. However, internal dissension between the various United Front warlords and the success of Dostums forces in liberating their own Uzbek area may make them unwilling to take the battle to the Taliban deep within the Pushtun south where their prospects of an easy victory are much less certain.

Reports, so far unsubstantiated, that elements within the Pakistan Intelligence Service and perhaps certain Army units have been supplying the Taliban with quantities of modern weapons and the willingness of tens of thousands of Pakistani Pushtuns to cross the border to fight for a threatened Pushtun regime could seriously complicate the chances of the United States and Britain imposing a Government in Kabul acceptable to all the factions inside Afghanistan and satisfy the very different ambitions of Russia, Iran and Pakistan.

10 NOVEMBER: BIN-LADEN SAYS HE HAS NUCLEAR AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS

A Pakistani journalist has said that Osama bin-Laden will use nuclear and chemical weapons “if provoked by the United States.”

Though Washington and London say he has tried to acquire such weaponry before, they believe he does not actually have the weapons.

Eye Spy has learned that al-Qaida operatives could indeed have some smaller nuclear devices apparently stored within brief cases. Some sources say of 3,000 such cases built by the Russians, over 100 can not be accounted for. It is known bin-Laden does have liaisons with a number of renegade scientists in the former Soviet Union.

9 OCTOBER: IRAN IN SECRET TALKS WITH TALIBAN

Intelligence watchers in the Middle East how revealed that Iran has held secret talks with Taliban officials in a bid to secure its influence in the region and to block the return of the exiled Afghan king Zahir Shah.

In the last two weeks of October, a Taliban delegation visited Teheran on three occasions and then hosted a meeting with Iranian intelligence in Kabul. It is known that Gulbuddin Hekmatayar, a former Mujahideen leader living in exile in Iran, is being groomed by Iran to take up arms against the former king. There has also been some discussions about supplying fuel and arms to the Taliban.

The CIA is concerned that a radical shift in policy is taking place in the region. Iran was a firm supporter of the Northern Alliance because the Taliban’s radical brand of Sunni fundamentalism is at odds with Teheran’s Shia version of Islam. There is little doubt that Iran is uncomfortable with the idea of living next to a neighbour whose government has been placed in power by the United States.

• Eye Spy has learned that Washington and London are extremely concerned over reports that al-Qaida could well have a number of small nuclear devices acquired or purchased from renegade Russian or former Soviet military and scientific personnel. * Full report Eye Spy 6.

IRAQI INTELLIGENCE AGENT GAVE “ANTHRAX FLAX” TO US AL-QAIDA HIJACKER

Evidence is growing that Mohammed Atta, one of the 11 September hijackers met with Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, the Iraqi consul in Prague and was handed a secret package. On four occasions Czech intelligence officers watched and monitored Atta in the capital - trying to establish the motive for the meetings. Initially they suspected a bomb plot but now it appears that a flax containing anthrax was handed over. Al-Ani was deported in April for “activities incompatible with his stature as a diplomat.”

• Eye Spy has learned from intelligence sources that the initial results anthrax laboratory tests in the USA have revealed a further clue as to their origin. The spores found on the dead persons and those infected had been treated with a highly sophisticated chemical additive manufactured in only three countries - USA, Russia and Iraq.

Several other European intelligence services, including those in the UK, Italia, Germany, Spain and Holland are examining information of Al-Qaida-Iraq links. It is known that the relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida was strengthened in 1998 when Ayman Zawahiri, bin-Laden’s deputy, met with Saddam Hussein. The CIA are convinced senior al-Qaida commanders received extensive training in Iraq.

MI5 ALERT RAF OVER POSSIBLE TERRORIST ATTACK ON NUCLEAR PLANT

On the evening of 26th Oct, two Tornado fighter jets were deployed from a RAF base in Scotland and raced to Sellafield. Witnesses reported seeing the warplanes screaming over the Cumbrian skies at around 6.30pm. This action was in response to a security alert of the BNFL facility potentially being under aerial threat. Cumbria Police have confirmed that they were on alert between 18-30 to 23-30hrs. Workers at the plant had heard the Tornado F3’s, yet had received no instruction regarding the aerial threat, or action of evacuation.

8 NOVEMBER: ANTHRAX - USA - EYE SPY EXCLUSIVE

Eye Spy intelligence magazine has learned that US security services have been involved in a huge and complex investigation of 55 registered US outlets that either produce the anthrax virus or sell it for research purposes. This could well indicate the original virus originated in America. FBI officials are concerned that a renegade group or individual has access to a limited amount of anthrax. Eye Spy analysts say that the possible ‘scaling down’ of new cases would almost certainly mean than whoever has/is sending the deadly packages is running out of the virus. Similarly, if cases increase, it would indicate a new source.

5 NOVEMBER: AL-QAIDA AND TALIBAN SUFFER HEAVY CASUALTIES

Intelligence analysts are studying reports from eye-witnesses fleeing Afghanistan, that a hospital in Kabul is treating some 350 wounded al-Qaida and Taliban soldiers. The sources from inside Pakistan are thought to be very reliable. Military analysts say that if the figure is accurate, then around 50-100 warriors will have been killed in the heavy raids now ensuing in various parts of the country.

2 NOVEMBER: OSAMA BIN-LADEN HEALTH DETERIORATING

MI6 is trying to evaluate reports that Osama bin-Laden was treated secretly in the American Hospital in Dubai in July. Bin-Laden has been suffering from ailing kidneys for several years but his health is now deteriorating quickly. His personal physician, doctor, Ayman Zawahiri, the second in command of the al-Qaida network, accompanied him to Dubai. MI6 believe a dialysis machine was shipped to Kandahar to stabilise his condition earlier this year. This report is thought to be accurate, though Taliban sources have dismissed it. An unconfirmed report says bin-Laden is desperate for proper medication as he is currently living in what is thought to be an underground command centre with few medical resources.

1 NOVEMBER: INTELLIGENCE OPENS UP NEW PHASE IN AFGHAN CONFLICT

The USAF is attacking Taliban front lines in various locations, but particular northeast of Kabul. Journalists observing the attacks say there appears to be a huge concerted effort to open up a channel in preparation for a new phase in the conflict. B52 bombers have begun ‘carpet bombing’ hillsides and undoubtedly casualties will be high. However, the Pentagon says it has “improved ground intelligence” which effectively means the bombing is being coordinated by special ground troops.

In Islamabad, a Taliban spokesman condemned the ‘carpet bombing’ as “ruthless”.

Though Russia has donated around 40 tanks and other weaponry to the Northern Alliance, it is unlikely these will be used before Spring. Analysts say NA forces are still too weak to take on the Taliban who quickly repulse attacks. This may change however with the introduction of heavy bombing raids.

• A Taliban spokesman said US-led attacks had killed 1,500 civilians. The Pentagon says this is an “exaggeration.” There is no independent confirmation of the claims. This is also the case involving a report from Kabul saying 40 US soldiers - presumably special infiltration troops - were captured.

28 OCTOBER: OSAMA BIN-LADEN - IN POSSESSION OF NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY AND HARDWARE

Eye Spy has learned of a secret operation at least 18 months ago whereby Al-Qaida operatives acquired nuclear technology and hardware. According to the Arabic language newspaper Al-Watan al-Arabi. It reported that well organised terrorists smuggled nuclear warheads, bought with opium and cash from the Russian Mafia, overland out of Russian territory via secret routes through Uzbekistan. There, former Soviet scientists remove the active uranium to be processed and place it in backpack-sized nuclear bombs ready for transportation to the West undetected.

Sources say Bin-Laden has used two tons of Afghani opium and $30 million to buy over 20 nuclear warheads. He has hired an international team of rogue nuclear scientists working in a secret underground base to convert warheads ‘expropriated’ from former Soviet republics into portable nuclear devices capable of striking targets around the globe. The newspaper further states that bin Laden developed ties with the Mafia of former Soviet republics during the Afghan war, which provided him with the key to obtaining nuclear missile warheads from the disintegrating USSR.

MI6 and the CIA now have in-depth intelligence on this operation. Indeed, it is almost certain that when the Colin Powell spoke with Pakistan some of this information was divulged, prompting Islamabad to react. Analysts believe Bin-Laden would have little hesitation in exploding a nuclear warhead, which many governments believe would lead to a frightening escalation in the war against terror.

26 OCTOBER: TALIBAN CAPTURE AND EXECUTE KEY INTELLIGENCE LINK

Taliban forces captured Abdul Haq, a veteran Mujahideen commander who was trying to sway moderate Taliban military and political leaders away from the regime. Taliban watchers have been monitoring him ever since he crossed over into Afghanistan from Pakistan - then they decided to arrest him. According to reliable sources he tried to flee on horseback once he realised his quest was futile. The 43-year-old Haq was a hero in the war against the USSR; wounded 14 times he also lost part of his lower-leg. Taliban religious leaders said anyone helping the United States was liable to be shot.

According the Taliban leaders, Haq was using a US-supplied satellite phone and was carrying a substantial amount of money (US dollars). And though Pentagon officials deny any attempt was made to rescue Haq (and several of his supporters), the area close to where he was hiding was bombed - suggesting he made a last desperate attempt to guide USAF fighters to destroy the surrounding Taliban forces.

There is little doubt his death will undermine attempts to place a broad-based government in Kabul. He was seen as the King’s envoy and the one person who could unite the many different waring factions in Afghanistan.

Intelligence analysts told Eye Spy: “Mr Haq was conducting a secret operation with a number of trusted colleagues who had links to moderate Taliban commanders. The mission was being carried out with the support of the deposed King Zahir Shah south of Kabul.”

23 OCTOBER: SAS TROOPS HAVE ALLEGEDLY IDENTIFIED AL-QAIDA COMMAND CENTRE

• Intelligence sources say a small operational unit presumably from the SAS or US Rangers, has identified the main Taliban or al-Qaida command centre. There are also strong rumours in London and Washington that coalition forces have entered Afghanistan in various strategic locations.

• Taliban forces say they have downed a US Army Chinook and displayed various pieces of wreckage. However, no part of the fuselage was seen and the Pentagon says no aircraft is missing. Taliban forces have been reinforced by several hundred warriors who have joined the fight from various countries.

 

US Chinook

• A recent poll in Pakistan shows that 86% of the people are against the strikes on Afghanistan, and believe the USA has not shown enough evidence, though 56% still support their government. And in another strange twist, over 80% of people believe the Israeli Government was behind the 11 September attacks.

• Carlos the Jackal, currently serving life in a French prison told a journalist that the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington were planned in 1991 following the Gulf War, though he denied ever meeting Osama bin-Laden.

• President Bush has effectively authorised the Central Intelligence Agency to kill Osama bin-Laden. Mr Bush said he was giving the agency an additional $1billion to help search for bin-Laden in Afghanistan.

• In the Middle East, many people have been killed in an escalation of the troubles. Eye Spy understands that the CIA is desperately trying to broker a peace deal, though that seems unlikely.

20 OCTOBER: LEADING AL-QAIDA MEMBER KILLED

There are unconfirmed reports that a key al-Qaida member, nicknamed ‘The Egyptian’ by his colleagues, has been killed in a bombing raid over Afghanistan. MI6 and the CIA are trying to establish if reports claiming Abu Baseer al-Masri was fatally injured along with other senior al-Qaida officers are true. The three men were caught up in a huge raid on Jalalabad on 16 October.

Al-Masri is a leading officer of Osama bin-Laden’s inner-cabinet and if the reports are true, it is a severe blow to al-Qaida. He was a member of a radical Egyptian group which merged with bin-Laden’s al-Qaida a number of years ago. However, though he has been in Afghanistan for ten years, there have been few sightings of this elusive figure.

There is interest in this report because it is widely believed that Osama bin-Laden’s cabinet are very close, suggesting the world’s most wanted man could be in the area as well.

Al-Masri was a good friend of al-Qaida’s No.3 Muhammed Atef who is wanted in Egypt and America for alleged crimes.

USA ATTACKS: CZECH INTELLIGENCE PROVIDE INTELLIGENCE

[With thanks to Laurie Mylroie - Iraq News]

PRAGUE -- Mohamed Atta, who allegedly crashed the first plane into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, met at least one Iraqi intelligence agent last year in Prague before moving to the U.S., a Czech official close to the investigation said. Mr. Atta traveled to Prague from Germany, where he had been a student at the Technical University in Hamburg. He stayed in the Czech capital for less than a day in early June 2000 before boarding a Czech Airlines flight to Newark, New Jersey, the official said. The next month, he started flight lessons in Florida.

Sometime during his visit - either at the airport or nearby - he contacted one or more Iraqi intelligence agents, said the Czech official, who declined to provide details of the meeting but said all information had been passed on to U.S. investigators. "It is not disputed that (Atta) met with an Iraqi agent on that occasion or perhaps on previous occasions," the official said. A person at the Iraqi Embassy in Prague said no one was available for
comment.

The acknowledgement is the strongest link between the Sept. 11 attacks and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. As the U.S. plans retaliation for the attacks, it has been investigating whether any foreign governments were involved, particularly the leadership in Afghanistan or Iraq. One role that Iraq might have played, according to German investigators, is providing false travel documents. Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization, which the U.S. blames for the attacks, isn't known to possess printing presses needed to make government-quality passports. Such presses are sold only to sovereign states, so some investigators speculate that a government eager to hurt the U.S. might have been involved.

Czech officials say they have been monitoring the Iraqi Embassy since before the attacks. "This is not an isolated occasion where Iraqi intelligence agents were seen to be meeting with people in Prague," the Czech official said. "There had been signals of Iraqi intelligence activity in Prague before and since Sept. 11, and not necessarily based at the embassy." Relations between the Czech Republic and Iraq, once allies under the country's former communist regime, soured after the Gulf War in 1991, and worsened when the Prague-based Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty began broadcasting to Iran and Iraq in 1998. In April of this year, the Czech Republic expelled a high-ranking Iraqi diplomat for varying from his diplomatic duties.

 

9 OCTOBER: UK GOVERNMENT HAS DOSSIER 2 UNDER WRAPS AS INTELLIGENCE EVIDENCE GROWS

Eye Spy intelligence magazine has learned that following the UK release of certain information linking bin-Laden with the 11th September atrocities, a second dossier that is being prepared contains even more damning evidence. Her Majesty’s Government is adamant that Osama bin-Laden and the Taliban regime were behind the attacks on New York and Washington. However, Eye Spy has been told by informed sources, various intercepted “satellite driven telephone calls” confirm Osama bin-Laden and his warriors were the masterminds in the intricate operations.

OSAMA BIN-LADEN SAYS USA MUST GET OUT OF MIDDLE EAST 9 OCTOBER 2001

In a video released by an Arabian satellite channel, Osama bin-Laden says America will not know peace until all the issues in Palestine are concluded and US forces and influence is driven out of the Middle East. Eye Spy has been told that four videos were made on the same day around 29 September to cover every eventuality.

ALL TALIBAN FIGHTER AIRCRAFT DESTROYED OR DAMAGED

According to sources close to the Northern Alliance forces, all 22 former operational Soviet fighters used by the Taliban have been destroyed or damaged following US and British raids on 8 October 2001. Similarly, several aviation targets, including the last few operational airports have all but been destroyed. Fuel dumps and all fixed radar centres are now non-operational.

WRONG INTELLIGENCE LEADS TO DEATHS OF AFGHAN UN OPERATIVES

A cruise missile shattered a United Nations mine-clearing facility on the outskirts of Kabul killing four civilians. According to our sources, the building was previously the headquarters of Kabul Radio. However, the station departed over five years ago. Many analysts believe the error was the result of incorrect intelligence.

Sources in Pakistan say at least 30 civilians and an unidentified number of Taliban fighters (specifically in the North) have been killed in the first three days of attacks.

• The Pentagon has released a number of photographs from above Afghanistan showing the damage caused to around 30 specific targets.

7 OCTOBER 2001: OPERATION GATEWAY UNDERWAY INTELLIGENCE BRIEFS

Six months ago Eye Spy magazine announced that a Pentagon operation code-named Gateway had been in place for several months. Russia had cleared a channel through a former province into the northern regions of Afghanistan. Their ultimate goal was to arrest Osama bin-Laden. At around 5.00pm ( UK), the United States together with Great Britain launched a series of strikes against military and communication facilities in Afghanistan. Some 50 cruise missiles were launched on Kabul and other Taliban controlled cities. B1, B2 and B-52 strike aircraft took part in the attacks.

Of major intelligence interest Eye Spy has learned that a small town in the southwest of the country has fallen to a force of around 150 warriors allied to the Northern Alliance. An intelligence source in Iran (close to the fighting), said an attack was launched close to the border of Iran. Iranian intelligence has constructed a huge electronic surveillance network on its border with Afghanistan. They have also confirmed fierce fighting around the border town.

A video that has received wide publicity today shows Osama bin-Laden condemning the attacks and announcing that “America would pay the price.” According to Eye Spy sources the video was one of a number made by associates of bin-Laden to respond to any eventually around 7 days ago. Bin-Laden once again reiterated his long-standing demand that a solution must be found to the Palestinian question.

• Pakistan’s intelligence service ISI, has confirmed that American military aircraft crossed Pakistan with the agreement of Islamabad.

• MI5 and the FBI have met and discussed possible retaliation from bin-Laden. According to Eye Spy sources a covert operation involving domestic intelligence agencies in America, Britain, France and Germany is taking place to acquire intelligence on a possible chemical or biological attack.

• The CIA had hoped that once strikes begin, fighting between many of the clans allied to the Taliban or NA would destabilize the country. Sources say that as the bombing started, hundreds of exposed Taliban fighters made contact with the NA and switched sides.

• The Taliban say they have suffered no (zero) casualties in the raids. They also say that southern forces have downed a USAF aircraft. There is no confirmation of this.

• 6 OCTOBER 2001: The NRO has launched a spy satellite that will be stationed above Afghanistan to monitor the movements of Taliban and bin-Laden forces.

7 OCTOBER 2001: COMMUNICATIONS DOWN -

Military intelligence sources told Eye Spy that within 24 hours all fixed communications stations in Afghanistan (believed to be around 20) will be destroyed by UK (SAS) and US special forces with the help of an unidentified third party.

GCHQ INTERCEPT ‘DAMNING EVIDENCE’ OF BIN-LADEN INVOLVEMENT: 3-4-5 OCTOBER 2001: Washington, London and NATO say they have seen evidence that the 11 September attacks on the USA, were supported and authorised by Osama bin-Laden, the Saudi-born renegade who has vowed to remove all traces of USA influence from his country. The White House has refused all invitations to present that evidence, but at a special meeting of NATO countries, intelligence materials were presented that provided little doubt of bin-Laden’s involvement.

Some low-grade intelligence has been revealed.

THE EVIDENCE

Perhaps more significant is the fact that the US security services have traced a paper trail via a number of bank accounts all the way back to one of Osama bin-Laden’s most trusted paymaster’s in the UAE. He fled back to Afghanistan via Islamabad just hours before the USA strikes with some $15,000 - returned to him as ‘unused monies’ according to intelligence sources in the UK and Pakistan.

CIA INTELLIGENCE

The CIA say that less than 48-hours prior to the strikes, a telephone call from bin-Laden to his step mother was intercepted. He allegedly said that in two days something ‘was going to happen’ and that he would be gone for a while. When invited to comment on this, US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who is shortly to leave for a Middle Eastern tour, refused to say whether or not this comment was an admission of guilt... or the link to bin-Laden both the USA and Britain seek.

German intelligence have also revealed that they intercepted two telephone calls from members of a suspected bin-Laden sleeper cell in Germany. The conversation related to the attacks.

In France, a suspected bin-Laden warrior said he was a member of a team designated to hit the US Embassy in Paris.

Intelligence analysts have told Eye Spy that GCHQ, Britain’s huge intelligence communications facility have intercepted a plethora of revealing emails and phone calls that all lead to Afghanistan and interestingly, other countries. This data was given to Prime Minister Tony Blair who launched a verbal attack on Osama bin-Laden, his followers and the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan.

It is believed that a great deal of that intelligence has been shown to Pakistan; hence Islamabad’s stance on the Taliban. The ISI, Pakistan’s superb HUMINT (human intelligence) gatherers have tried to broker a deal with Kabul, but they acknowledge the situation is looking dismal for the Taliban. The ISI has over 1,000 agents in Afghanistan who are regarded as ‘excellent’ intelligence sources by international governments.

Eye Spy can confirm a spy plane operated by the CIA has been captured by the Taliban. (See Eye Spy 5 for photo evidence).

THE NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON ATTACKS: 250 PEOPLE COULD BE BEHIND OPERATION 3 OCTOBER 2001

Senior intelligence analysts in America now believe that up to 250 people could have been behind the terrorist attacks in America on 11 September, though over 1,000 have already been questioned.

Eye Spy has learned that the FBI is convinced hijackers were set to capture a fifth airliner just days after the initial strikes. Secret servicemen arrested five men as they tried to board a plane on Saturday. All have links with a number of the hijackers who died in the attacks.

US SPECIAL FORCES: FIRST TARGETS IDENTIFIED IN AFGHANISTAN 1 OCTOBER 2001

Military and intelligence analysts have decided that the first targets that need to be destroyed in Afghanistan are the 20 radio masts that are dotted around the countryside that relay propaganda broadcasts. Journalists monitoring the official Taliban radio station say that the broadcasts speak of an imminent war. The radio masts could be hit by aircraft firing laser-guided bombs up to 200 miles away.

Water and food are already in short supply after the last UN mission pulled out. According to Pakistan, some 2 million people are moving towards their border.

• Communications in Afghanistan are poor. Many small militia groups use walkie-talkies that are 25 years old. These broadcasts are being monitored by facilities such as GCHQ and Menwith Hill in the UK.

According to sources close to the Foreign Office, US and UK special forces have effectively sealed off all exit routes from Afghanistan. It is believed MI6 and the CIA have actually made contact with leaders of the Northern Alliance in the north of the country. This militia numbers around 15,000 and has provided valuable logistical assistance already. They claim bin-Laden, who is hampered by ill health, is in hiding in one of five heavily guarded camps. These camps have been identified and could well be initial targets for the SAS or US special forces.

Political sources in Pakistan say Osama bin-Laden may have already fled to a remote area bordering China, though this has been denied by Beijing.

• The ruling Taliban say they some 300,000 warriors will confront US forces. These troops are poorly armed, but their greatest weapon is their knowledge of the rugged countryside. The movement of heavy transport by US forces is not an immediate option, but the USAF will fly with impunity above Afghanistan. The Taliban has only a few outdated MiG fighters, though they recently shot down an unmanned CIA surveillance drone (Predator).

The Taliban may be lightly armed, but they are excellent soldiers.

• There are rumours filtering out of Afghanistan that a split is apparent in the Taliban. Some leading officials want to hand bin-Laden over to neighboring Pakistan, but this has been rejected by those who vehemently oppose the USA. It should also be remembered that Osama bin-Laden is the father-in-law of the head of the Taliban.

26 SEPTEMBER 2001: AMERICA ATTACKED BY TERRORISTS

A number of US civilian and military targets were attacked early today. Unconfirmed reports say hijacked airliners crashed into targets in New York and Washington. It is believed several hundred people are dead. (original posting).

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WHAT HAPPENED WHEN US FORCES ARRIVED IN AFGHANISTAN
An interesting story that received little publicity in the USA

 

SPECIAL REPORT

US SPECIAL FORCES SUFFER CASULATIES by SEYMOUR M. HERSH

 

Early on the morning of Saturday, October 20th, more than a hundred Army Rangers parachuted into a Taliban-held airbase sixty miles southwest of Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan. A military cameraman videotaped the action with the aid of a night-vision lens, and his grainy, green-tinted footage of determined commandos and billowing parachutes dominated the television news that night. The same morning, a second Special Operations unit, made up largely of Rangers and a reinforced Delta Force squadron, struck at a complex outside Kandahar which included a house used by Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader.

In a Pentagon briefing later that day, General Richard B. Myers, of the Air Force, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reported that the Special Operations Forces "were able to deploy, maneuver, and operate inside Afghanistan without significant interference from Taliban forces." He stated that the soldiers did meet resistance at both sites, but overcame it. "I guess you could characterize it as light," he said. "For those experiencing it, of course, it was probably not light." He concluded, "The mission over all was successful. We accomplished our objectives."

Myers also told reporters that the commandos were "refitting and repositioning for potential future operations against terrorist targets" in Afghanistan. But at a second briefing, two days later, he refused to say whether commando operations would continue. "Some things are going to be visible, some invisible," he said.

Myers did not tell the press that, in the wake of a near-disaster during the assault on Mullah Omar's complex, the Pentagon was rethinking future Special Forces operations inside Afghanistan. Delta Force, which prides itself on stealth, had been counterattacked by the Taliban, and some of the Americans had had to fight their way to safety. Twelve Delta members were wounded, three of them seriously.

Delta Force has long complained about a lack of creativity in the Army leadership, but the unexpectedness and the ferocity of the Taliban response "scared the crap out of everyone," a senior military officer told me, and triggered a review of commando tactics and procedures at the United States Central Command, or CENTCOM , at MacDill Air Force Base, in Florida, the headquarters for the war in Afghanistan. "This is no war for Special Operations," one officer said—at least, not as orchestrated by CENTCOM and its commander, General Tommy R. Franks, of the Army, on October 20th.

There was also disdain among Delta Force soldiers, a number of senior officers told me, for what they saw as the staged nature of the other assault, on the airfield, which had produced such exciting television footage. "It was sexy stuff, and it looked good," one general said. But the operation was something less than the Pentagon suggested. The Rangers' parachute jump took place only after an Army Pathfinder team—a specialized unit that usually works behind enemy lines—had been inserted into the area and had confirmed that the airfield was clear of Taliban forces. "It was a television show," one informed source told me. "The Rangers were not the first in."
Some of the officials I spoke with argued that the parachute operation had value, even without enemy contact, in that it could provide "confidence building" for the young Rangers, many of whom had joined the Army out of high school and had yet to be exposed to combat. "The Rangers come in and the choppers come in and everybody feels good about themselves," a military man who served alongside the Special Forces said. Nonetheless, he asked, "Why would you film it? I'm a big fan of keeping things secret—and this was being driven by public opinion."

Delta Force, which is based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, has a mystique that no other unit of the Army does. Its mere existence is classified, and, invariably, its activities are described to the public only after the fact. "Black Hawk Down," a book by Mark Bowden about the Special Forces disaster in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993, in which eighteen Rangers and Delta Force members were killed, took note of Delta's special status. "They operated strictly in secret," Bowden wrote. "You'd meet this guy hanging out at a bar around Bragg, deeply tanned, biceps rippling, neck wide as a fireplug, with a giant Casio watch and a plug of chaw under his lip, and he'd tell you he worked as a computer programmer for some army contract agency. They called each other by their nicknames and eschewed salutes and all the other traditional trappings of military life. Officers and noncoms in Delta treated each other as equals. Disdain for normal displays of army status was the unit's signature. They simply transcended rank." On combat missions, Bowden wrote, Delta Force soldiers disliked working with the younger, far less experienced Rangers.

Referring to the October 20th raid on the Mullah Omar complex, some Delta members told a colleague that it was a "total goat ****"—military slang meaning that everything that could go wrong did go wrong. According to a report in the London Observer, the complex included little more than potholed roads, the brick house used by Mullah Omar, and a small protective garrison of thatched huts. The Pentagon had intelligence reports indicating that the Mullah sometimes spent the night there; a successful mission could result in his death or capture and might, at a minimum, produce valuable intelligence. Delta had hoped to do what it did best: work a small team of four to six men on the ground into the target area—the phrase for such reconnaissance is "snoop and poop"—and attack with no warning. (One senior intelligence officer said that a member of Delta Force had told him, "We take four guys, and if we lose them, that's what we get paid for.")

CENTCOM's attack plan called, instead, for an enormous assault on the Mullah's complex. The mission was initiated by sixteen AC-130 gunships, which poured thousands of rounds into the surrounding area but deliberately left the Mullah's house unscathed. The idea was that any Taliban intelligence materials would thus be left intact, or that, with a bit of luck, Omar would perhaps think he was safe and spend the night. A reinforced company of Rangers—roughly two hundred soldiers—was flown by helicopter into a nearby area, to serve as a blocking force in case Delta ran into heavy resistance. Chinook helicopters, the Army's largest, then flew to a staging area and disgorged the reinforced Delta squadron—about a hundred soldiers—and their six-by-six assault vehicles, with specially mounted machine guns. The Delta team stormed the complex, and found little of value: no Mullah and no significant documents.

"As they came out of the house, the shit hit the fan," one senior officer recounted. "It was like an ambush. The Taliban were firing light arms and either R.P.G.s"—rocket-propelled grenades—"or mortars." The chaos was terrifying. A high-ranking officer who has had access to debriefing reports told me that the Taliban forces were firing grenades, and that they seemed to have an unlimited supply. Delta Force, he added, found itself in "a tactical firefight, and the Taliban had the advantage." The team immediately began taking casualties, and evacuated. The soldiers broke into separate units—one or more groups of four to six men each and a main force that retreated to the waiting helicopters. According to established procedures, the smaller groups were to stay behind to provide fire cover. Army gunships then arrived on the scene and swept the compound with heavy fire.
The Delta team was forced to abandon one of its objectives—the insertion of an undercover team into the area—and the stay-behind soldiers fled to a previously determined rendezvous point, under a contingency plan known as an E. & E., for escape and evasion. One of the Chinook helicopters smashed its undercarriage while pulling away from the grenades and the crossfire, leaving behind a section of the landing gear. The Taliban later displayed this as a trophy, claiming, falsely, that a helicopter had been shot down. (According to the Pentagon, the helicopter had come "into contact with a barrier.")

The failed 1993 Special Forces attack in Mogadishu, with its enduring image of a slain American dragged through the city's streets, had created a furor, and led to allegations that the soldiers had been sent in without adequate combat support. The CENTCOM planners were unquestionably eager to avoid the same mistake, and their anxiety was perhaps heightened by the fact that the attacks would be the first of the ground war. But the resulting operation was criticized by many with experience in Special Operations as far too noisy ("It would wake the dead," one officer told me) and far too slow, giving the Taliban time to organize their resistance. One Delta Force soldier told a colleague that the planners "think we can perform fucking magic. We can't. Don't put us in an environment we weren't prepared for. Next time, we're going to lose a company."

In the briefings after the raids, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and General Myers gave no indication of the intensity of the resistance near Mullah Omar's house. Rumsfeld also chastised the Pentagon press corps for relying on unnamed military sources in filing the first reports on the raids before the commandos had returned. Rumsfeld said, "You can be certain that I will answer your questions directly when I can and that we'll do our best to give you as much information as we can safely provide." He added, "This is a very open society, and the press knows—you know—almost as much as exists and almost as soon as it exists. And the idea that there is some great iceberg out there that's not known, below water . . . it's just not true."

In the days that followed, as details of the raids filtered through the military system, the Pentagon gave no public hint of the bitter internal debate they had provoked. There was evidence, however, that something had gone wrong. On Sunday, October 21st, the day after the raids, the London Sunday Telegraph reported that the United States had requested the immediate assignment to Afghanistan of the entire regiment of Britain's élite commando units, the Special Air Service, or S.A.S. American officials told me that British military authorities assigned to CENTCOM were urging the Pentagon to forgo its airborne operations inside Afghanistan and, instead, bring the war to the Taliban by establishing a large firebase in Afghanistan. The British position, one officer explained, was "We should tell the Taliban, 'We're now part of your grid square' "—that is, in the Taliban's territory. " 'What are you going to do about it?' "

The after-action arguments over how best to wage a ground war continued last week, with many of the senior officers in Delta Force "still outraged," as one military man described it. The Pentagon could not tell the American people the details of what really happened at Kandahar, he added angrily, "because it doesn't want to appear that it doesn't know what it's doing." Another senior military officer told me, "This is the same M.O. that they've used for ten years." He dismissed CENTCOM 's planning for the Afghanistan mission as "Special Ops 101," and said, "I don't know where the adult supervision for these operations is. Franks"— the CENTCOM commander—"is clueless." Of Delta Force the officer said, "These guys have had a case of the ass since Mogadishu. They want to do it right and they train hard. Don't put them on something stupid." He paused, and said, "We'll get there, but it's going to get ugly."

A senior official acknowledged that there were serious problems in the war effort thus far, but said, "It's like reading a six-hundred-page murder mystery. It's solved on the last few pages, but you have to read five hundred and ninety-eight pages to get there."

 

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