September 1999 News

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Laden may have stinger missiles: CRS

18 September 1999
Daily Excelsior

WASHINGTON: Saudi-born multimillionaire terrorist Osama bin Laden who has declared open Jehad (holy war) against India and the United States may have stinger missiles and other deadly weapons, according to US Congressional Research Service (CRS).

US officials are concerned that Bin Laden’s network is acquiring potent military capabilities. About 200 US shoulder-held anti- aircraft weapons or stingers are still at large in Afghanistan and because of Bin Laden’s financial resources, it is highly likely he has acquired some of them, a study by Kenneth Katzman, specialist on the region in CRS says.

Bin Laden’s fighters have experimented with chemical weapons and might have tried to purchase nuclear materials in the early 1990s, possibly in concert with Iran and Sudan... It is reasonable to assume that Bin Laden’s organization has at least a rudimentary chemical weapons capability, he fears.

Bin Laden is believed to be holed up in Afghanistan and directing the Jehad against the US, Israel and now against India, in coordination with Pakistan.

CRS says over the past five years, the network of Osama bin Laden has evolved from a regional threat to US allies to a global threat to US National Security interest. Al-Qaida (the military base) is the name of the terrorist network founded by Bin Laden in 1990.

The Saudi dissident helped recruit and fund many of the Arab volunteers for the Afghan conflict (against Russia) and eventually brought these volunteers into his far-flung and diverse radical Islamic organization.

Bin Laden’s network has been connected to a number of acts of terrorism. Bin Laden, born July 30, 1957 as the 17th of 20 sons of (now deceased) Saudi construction magnate of Yemeni origin, is believed to have assets invested in Europe and Asia.

He is estimated to have 300 million dollars in assets with which he funds his network of as many as 3,000 Islamic militants. Al-Qaida cells have been identified or suspected in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Chechnya, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Somalia, Eritrea, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, other parts of Africa, Malaysia, the Philippines, Uruguay, Ecuador, Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, the United Kingdom and, allegedly, inside the US itself. (PTI)


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