9/11 terror attacks not a Qaeda plot


Iftikhar Gilani | Mon, 29 May 2017-06:55am

British authors Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark are in India again, this time with an extraordinary account of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda in the years following the 9/11 attacks. In an exclusive interview, Levy discusses his forthcoming book The Exile with Iftikhar Gilani and reveals interesting details, hitherto unknown to the world. Here are excerpts of the interview:

Your book reveals that LeT had nearly triggered a nuclear war between India and Pakistan, to open a passage for Osama out of the besieged mountains. But the Indian intelligence has been telling us that the attack was launched by JeM. Why this difference?

When the Taliban rout began in December 2001, the US paid the Pakistan Army to assist in closing the back-door exit from Tora Bora — a plan devised by Bob Grenier, the CIA Station Chief in Islamabad. The US bought the assistance of IX Corp, approximately 6,000 soldiers. Only a war-like situation could trigger this. JeM attacked the Indian Parliament, which they say, was designed to create a war-like situation. It also made Pakistan consider a nuclear option.

The White House knew the whereabouts of Laden’s family and Al Qaeda leaders, but did nothing to capture them. Instead, they pursued a war in the Gulf. Any reason behind this?

Many countries benefit from enabling insurgencies far more than they do by quashing them. Pakistan, US, and even India prefer certain wars to run long. There is a war dividend. The Bush Administration could have seized Al Qaeda’s religious shura, and part of its military council, and held almost all of Osama’s family, potentially forcing him to expose himself, as far back as in 2002. Instead, Bush accused Iraq of aiding Al Qaeda to justify a long-held agenda to topple Saddam.

Why do you think intelligence agencies all over the world could not get a hint of 9/11 attack plans?

The 9/11 conspiracy is ‘mis-described’ as an Al Qaeda plot. It was hatched outside of Al Qaeda circles, with the outfit’s ruling military council and religious shura kept in the dark. Both bodies disliked Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who chalked out the plan.

Why despite spending billions and taking military actions, the West has been unable to root out Al Qaeda and ISIS?

Al Qaeda’s leadership was sheltered by Iran. Sources have revealed the proximity of Shia Iran to Sunni Al Qaeda. Iran shares common borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan. This offered a protective bubble that US forces dared not penetrate.