London, May 31: Terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden spent much of his final weeks trying to bring the local insurgent groups fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan together under the Al-Qaeda umbrella, it has emerged.
Osama, who had made repeated efforts to unite militant groups, was even considering risking leaving his safe house in Pakistan’s Abbottabad, to try to build a fresh alliance through face-to-face meetings.
Western intelligence services and Richard Barrett, head of the United Nations Al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctions committee, said that Osama was planning a “grand coalition” of militant groups.
“Bin Laden found it pretty difficult to be marginalized and was making a huge effort to stay relevant. There was some indication that he was looking at re-energizing links with other local militant groups to give himself a central role,” the Guardian quoted Barrett, as saying.
Mediating alliances and focusing the efforts of disparate groups has been a favored strategy of Bin Laden since the late 1980s, the paper said.
According to the reports, many experts said that, with the growing sophistication of local groups such as the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, the role of international militants in the region has diminished.
The paper added that Western intelligence officials in Kabul said they believe there are probably not more than 100 extremists affiliated with Al-Qaeda fighting in Afghanistan and that relations with the other insurgent groups there and in Pakistan are “variable and dynamic”.
According to sources, there are also indications that Osama was contemplating trying to negotiate some kind of pact with the Pakistani government.
American investigators hope that the data seized in the raid on the Abbottabad compound, in which Osama was killed, would cast light on the relations of Al-Qaeda and other militant groups in the region and beyond. (ANI)