5
ORGANIZER, 1996–2001

Bin Laden returned to Afghanistan on May 18, 1996. He landed in a small jet at Jalalabad airport, and was followed in the ensuing days by his wives, children, and a number of his followers. They were all welcomed by the “old mujahedin,” the Afghans with whom bin Laden had fought against the Red Army. He was met at the airport by Islamic Union Commander Saznur—who in the mid-1980s had wanted nothing to do with those Arab fighters intent on “racing to death”—and Engineer Mahmoud, a veteran Hisbi Islami-Khalis commander. Although his return had been approved by Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani and Prime Minister Hekmatyar, bin Laden gave most credit to Yunis Khalis for facilitating his return, because of the major Afghan leaders he alone stayed clear of post-Soviet factional fighting. “Allah blessed Shaykh Muhammad Yunis Khalis, by keeping him clear from this difference and infighting,” bin Laden wrote. “The Arabs left Afghanistan during the problems of factional infighting, but Shaykh Yunis Khalis welcomed them back.”1 The warm reception of bin Laden and his followers, Abu Jandal explains, “was a kind of payback for Shaykh Usama for everything he had offered the Afghan warriors during their war against the Soviet troops.”2

-105-

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Osama Bin Laden
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1 - Oshma Bin Laden as Subject 1
  • 2 - Education, 1957—1979 21
  • 3 - Apprenticeship, 1979–1989 48
  • 4 - Nomad, 1989–1996 79
  • 5 - Organizer, 1996–2001 105
  • 6 - Survivor and Planner, 2001–2010 129
  • 7 - The Bin Laden Era 162
  • Epilogue 182
  • Acknowledgments 185
  • Notes 189
  • Bibliography 249
  • Index 263
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