Osama planned attacks in Asia in coordination with 9/11

Washington: Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden had planned to hijack American planes traveling across Southeast Asia and crash them into US military facilities in the region in coordination with 9/11 attacks, according to a secret interrogation report of one of his bodyguards.

Abd al-Malik Abd al-Wahab, a Yemen national, was arrested by Pakistani forces on December 15, 2001 while attempting to cross the Afghanistan-Pakistan border near Parachinar in Pakistan after fleeing from Bin Laden`s Tora Bora mountain complex.

In December, US forces had bombed the region after getting reports that Bin Laden was hiding there. He, however, escaped the onslaught.

"Detainee was captured with a group of 31 other Arab al-Qaeda fighters referred to by US intelligence reporting as the `Dirty 30`, most of whom are assessed to be UBL (Bin Laden) bodyguards and other members of UBL`s security detail," the report published by WikiLeaks said.

The report, signed by a Rear Admiral on April 28, 2008, says that al-Wahab was related, by marriage to Bin Laden. It however did not elaborate.

Recommending continued detention, the report said, "Detainee received specialised terrorist training and was designated to be a suicide operative in an al-Qaida plot to hijack airplanes in Southeast Asia."

"Detainee trained for an aborted al-Qaida operation in Southeast Asia to hijack US airliners and crash them into US military facilities in Asia in coordination with 11 September 2001.

"In 1999, detainee and several other al-Qaida members were designated as suicide operatives in a plot to hijack US air carriers traveling across Southeast Asia and destroy them in midair. These attacks were originally intended to occur simultaneously with those in the US on 11 September 2001."

It said Bin Laden later canceled the operation due to the difficulty involved in synchronising the attacks.

According to another detainee known by his code (YM-10014) Bin Laden planned to use Yemenis and Saudis who could not obtain a US visa for the Asian portion of the plot because they could easily travel to Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and South Korea.

The detainee said two months before September 11, 2001, al-Qaida operational planner Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, took several Bin Laden bodyguards including him to Karachi to teach them English and American behaviours to prepare them for the hijacking operation.

The report said according to the Israeli Directorate of Military Intelligence, in 1999, after receiving permission from UBL, another detainee established a special training program in Karachi to prepare for September 11 style terrorist attacks.

Al-Yemeni (an alias of al-Wahab) is listed as one of the operatives taking part in this training.