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Osama was panning 'grand coalition' of militant groups

world Updated: May 31, 2011 21:39 IST

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The man who gave the entire world, especially US, a tough time trying to hunt him down, actually spent his final weeks trying to 'stay relevant'.

"Bin Laden found it pretty difficult to be marginalised and was making a huge effort to stay relevant. There was some indication that he was looking at re-energising links with (other local militant groups) to give himself a central role," said Richard Barrett, head of the United Nations al Qaeda and Taliban sanctions committee, according to a report in The Guardian paper.

Western intelligence services are of the view that the multiple safeguards in place to keep his location secret, crippled bin Laden's close involvement in day-to-day management of the al Qaeda and all its affiliates. With no Internet access or telephones, communicating with the outside world entailed a cumbersome process of offline messages, USB keys, couriers and internet terminals hundreds of kilometers away, limiting bin Laden's ability to run the group.

And given that mediating alliances and focusing the efforts of desperate groups has been a favoured strategy of Bin Laden since the late 1980s, many experts say that bin Laden was planning a new attempt to bring the factions fighting in Pakistan and Afghanistan under the aegis of al Qaeda.

This resurgence was also the direct result of the growing sophistication of local groups, such as the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, who with their decades of fighting experience, had increasingly marginalised the role of international militants in the region. So much so, that some intelligence officials, speaking to the British newspaper The Guardian, claim that as of today there are not more than 100 al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan.

The militant leader was central to the group and a micro-manager who monitored all of al Qaeda's and other Islamist insurgencies' activities, down to articles published and the final say in leadership appointments.

Consequently, bin Laden had made repeated efforts to unify militant groups and was even considering risking leaving his safe house in Abbottabad, to try and build a 'grand coalition' of fresh alliances through face-to-face meetings.