The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on Thursday released 470,000 files which reveal that Al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden was following developments in Kashmir. The documents also show that he was closely following the trail of Pakistan-American David Coleman Headley, accused in 26/11 Mumbai attack.
The documents were seized when US Navy seals burst into the Abottabad compound in May 2011 in Pakistan and killed Laden.
The files include Laden’s son’s wedding video and diaries left by the Saudi-born terrorist.
The documents revealed that Laden closely followed news related to the arrest of Lashkar-e-Toiba operative Headley and was a regular reader of some of the top Indian publications.
An article in a National daily titled ‘Omar Sheikh’s Pak handler Ilyas Kashmiri also handled Headley’ was found from the computer of Laden in Abbottabad. The article was dated November 16, 2009.
An article ‘Fears of air-borne terrorists strikes in India, UK’ published in Sri Lanka Guardian was also found in a separate file on Laden’s computer.
An Indian news agency story, ‘al-Qaida helping Taliban to destabilise Pak Government: Gates’, dated February 9, 2010, was also found on Laden’s computer.
Another article found on Laden’s computer was about the coded communications between Headley and his HuJI links.The news article was published by The Time of India on November 15, 2009.
Laden also saved on his computer a PTI article, titled: ‘India to send magistrate to US to record Headley’s statement’.
Laden highlighted in yellow some portion of the article titled ‘Pak Major handled Headley’s India recce’, published on March 16, 2010.
The highlighted portion reads, “The dossiers also sought the custody of Pakistani terrorist, Ilyas Kashmiri. Kashmiri is the chief of the ‘313 Brigade’ and acts as the ‘military operations head’ of the al- Qaida. Intercepts reveal that Kashmiri told two attackers inside Nariman House, ‘Keep fighting, Brigade 313 has been deployed’.”
The documents also revealed that Laden was interested in news related to Kashmir and several terrorists especially IIlyas Kashmiri.
An Economic Times story ‘US asks Pakistan to find Ilyas Kashmiri” dated January 7, 2010 was found among the saved documents on Laden’s computer.
A February 2009 article “Pakistani Kashmiri militants now fighting NATO forces” was also found.