Declassified documents released on Thursday show that Osama bin Laden told terrorist teams to attack airplanes carrying President Barack Obama and General David Petraeus, NATO chief in Afghanistan, when they were visiting Pakistan or Afghanistan.
“Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make “[vice-president] Biden take over the presidency for the remainder of the term,”according to translated documents released by the privately funded Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on Thursday.
“Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis,” reads the letter, which was one of 17 published online in original Arabic and in English translation. It added that the terrorist groups should not target flights with Biden, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff head Mike Mullen, or Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke.
The terrorist leader said he gave orders to set up two teams positioned in Pakistan and another in the Bagram region in Afghanistan “with the mission of anticipating and spotting the visits of Obama or Petraeus to Afghanistan or Pakistan to target the aircraft of either one of them.”
“Petraeus … is the man of the hour in this last year of the war, and killing him would alter the war’s path,” bin Laden’s letter continued.
The documents published on Thursday were part of a larger cache seized by U.S. special forces’ raid on bin Laden’s house in Pakistan last year. The declassified documents, 197 pages worth (in English), were composed between 2006 and 2011 by bin Laden and other high-ranking members of al Qaeda.
In some of the letters, bin Laden appears isolated, frustrated, and at odds with regional jihadi groups due to “his seeming inability to exercise control over their actions,” the Combating Terrorism Center said in an analysis.
Bin Laden, the Center said, was “at pain” in advising regional terrorist groups to stop domestic attacks that cause the deaths of Muslim civilians. He told them they should focus attacks on the United States, “our desired goal.”
According to the Center, bin Laden was planning to release a statement regarding “starting a new phase to correct [the mistakes]” made in the past to reclaim “the trust of a large segment of those who lost their trust in the jihadis.”
A letter from bin Laden to Shaykh Mahmud in October 2010, is intended for militants in the restive Pakistani province of Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan, saying they should keep a “low profile.”
“I am leaning toward getting most of the brothers out of the area. We could leave the cars because they are targeting cars now, but if we leave them, they will start focusing on houses and that would increase casualties among women and children,” the letter reads.
In a communique with al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the largest affiliates of the terror network, bin Laden also advised against taking over Yemen to create an Islamic state.
“[An] Escalation in Yemen would siphon off a large portion of the energy of the Mujahidin without doing the same to the head of the infidels (America) directly,” bin Laden wrote.
Last year, AQAP militants took over portions of southern Yemen as the government’s army was dealing with unrest in the north and in the capital, Sanaa, amid mass demonstrations against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.The letters also show that Bin Laden and his commanders communicated with members of al-Shabab in Somalia and al-Qaeda on the Islamic Maghreb, based in North Africa.