Sept 11, 2006 will mark the fifth anniversary of the great tragedy that struck New York City. And the man apparently responsible is a hereto little known Saudi millionaire called Osama bin Laden. Since then, his name has become associated with terrorism and is on the top of wanted lists in most countries. The whereabouts of this man is still a mystery, even after two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, had been waged by the USA in its quest to hunt this elusive terrorist mastermind.
Even as Pakistan also admits that they have lost track of Osama bin Laden [i], US Senator Mark Steven Kirk, who visited Pakistan last year said that the Al Qaeda collects some US$28 million a year from the heroin market, and is used to pay Osama’s bodyguards, bribe warlords in Pakistan and finance the Al Qaeda’s leader on the run. [ii]
In December 2004, another of his audio tapes has resurfaced, praising the recent militant attacks on the US consulate in Saudi Arabia. [iii]
What will happen one day if Osama bin Laden is announced as captured, or even killed, just as what happened to many of his fellow high-ranking Al Qaeda members? If Osama is neutralized, then it may be possible that the Al Qaeda may slowly fade in terms of threat as well as recede in importance from the world political stage and the war against terrorism. Others will no doubt succeed him, perhaps Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, (his second-in-command) or some other lieutenant, as the next Al Qaeda emir but the charisma needed to inspire in Islamic militants worldwide to oppose the United States cannot be duplicated.