On 9/11, the core of al-Qaeda was concentrated in a single city: Karachi. At a hospital, the accused mastermind of the bombing of the USS Cole was recovering from a tonsillectomy. Nearby, the alleged organizer of the 2002 bombing in Bali, Indonesia, was buying lab equipment for a biological weapons program.
And in a safe house, the man who would later describe himself as the intellectual author of the Sept. 11 attacks was with other key al-Qaeda members watching the scenes from New York and Washington unfold on television.
Within a day, much of the al-Qaeda leadership was on the way back to Afghanistan, planning for a long war.
A cache of military documents released by WikiLeaks presents new details of their whereabouts on Sept. 11, 2001, and their movements afterward.
The documents also offer some tantalizing glimpses into the whereabouts and operations of Osama bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. When pieced together, they capture some of the drama of al-Qaeda's scattering in the wake of 9/11.
According to the documents, four days after 9/11, bin Laden visited a guesthouse in Kandahar province. He told the Arab fighters gathered there “to defend Afghanistan against the infidel invaders” and to “fight in the name of Allah.”
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