World's most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden had written his will as US troops closed in on his hideout in Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan in December 2001, but walked out "unmolested" after American military leaders decided not to send reinforcements to pursue him.
The US military "could have captured or killed Osama bin Laden in 2001 if it had launched a concerted attack on his hideout in Afghanistan," according to a damning Congressional report that comes on the eve of unveiling of a new Af-Pak policy by the Barack Obama Administration.
The 49-page report "Tora Bora Revisited: How we failed to get Bin Laden and Why it Matters Today", prepared by the staff of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and released today, points finger at then Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his top military commander Tommy Franks for turning down requests for reinforcements to pursue Laden.
Laden, trapped in the rugged mountainous area in eastern Afghanistan, expected to die and had even written a will, said the report, commissioned by Committee Chairman John Kerry.
"On or around December 16, two days after writing his will, bin Laden and an entourage of bodyguards walked unmolested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan's unregulated tribal area. Most analysts say he is still there today," the report said.
"Fewer than 100 American commandos were on the scene with their Afghan allies and calls for reinforcements to launch an assault were rejected. Requests were also turned down for US troops to block the mountain paths leading to sanctuary a few miles away in Pakistan," it said.