The head of German intelligence confirms what had already been widely reported: “Bin Laden Bribed Afghan Militias, German Official Says,” from the New Duranty Times, with thanks to EPG:
BERLIN,- The head of the German intelligence agency, in an interview published here today, said that Osama bin Laden had been able to elude capture after the American invasion of Afghanistan by paying bribes to the Afghan militias delegated the task of finding him.
“The principal mistake was made already in 2001, when one wanted bin Laden to be apprehended by the Afghan militias in Tora Bora,” the intelligence official, August Hanning, said in an interview with the German business newspaper Handelsblatt.
“There, bin Laden could buy himself free with a lot of money,” Mr. Hanning said.
A spokesman for Mr. Hanning confirmed the accuracy of the German newspaper’s account of the interview. She said that Afghan forces informed the leader of Al Qaeda that they knew his whereabouts and that he would be arrested, but they allowed him safe passage in exchange for a bribe.
So Osama can bribe them, but for a cool $25 million, we can’t. I wonder if anyone in the Pentagon is thinking about why that might be. Maybe the New Duranty Times should describe the money Osama paid to the Afghans as more of a “working relationship based on common religious principles” than a “bribe.”
In the past, other officials, including Gen. Tommy Franks, the commander of American forces in Afghanistan, have acknowledged that Afghan militias who fought on the side of the invasion coalition had allowed wanted Taliban and Al Qaeda officials to get away, but Mr. Hanning is the most senior intelligence official to suggest that Mr. bin Laden himself was among them.
Military experts in the past have also raised questions about the practice of relying on Afghan militias during the hunt for senior Qaeda and Taliban figures, saying that once the Taliban fell, the militias became more interested in gaining power in Afghanistan’s many tribal regions than in fulfilling American political goals.
During the presidential campaign, John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, frequently criticized the Bush administration for what he called “outsourcing” the hunt for Mr. bin Laden, which reached its most active phase after the fall of the Taliban government when American and Afghan troops attacked Qaeda hideouts in the Tora Bora mountains on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
This “outsourcing” is another example of our military not having a clue about jihadist motivation or loyalties.
Defenders of the administration have responded that using local troops to fight al Al Qaeda and the Taliban was aimed both at minimizing American casualties and preventing the conflict from becoming an “American war.”
But in the interview published today, Mr. Hanning was critical of that strategy as it applied to the goal of capturing or killing Mr. bin Laden, who, he said, was able to insulate himself inside a protective network of supporters after the early efforts to arrest or kill him failed.
“Since then, he has been able to create his own infrastructure in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area and has won many friends from the tribal groups there,” Mr. Hanning said.
How hard was it for him to win those friends? Did they just love him for his money, or was their a small matter of their sharing the same view of the world, the same religious outlook, and the same goals?