Report: Osama bin Laden – doting grandpa, paranoid terrorist
July 9th, 2013
08:49 AM ET

Report: Osama bin Laden – doting grandpa, paranoid terrorist

Osama bin Laden typically wore a cowboy hat while tending his garden.

Its broad brim obscured his features from the view of pesky eyes or satellite cameras that might blow his cover while he was hiding out in Pakistan, according to a report published widely in Pakistani media.

The 337-page leaked report details the domestic life of one of the world's most wanted men as a grandfather in his final days of life.

It also scathes Pakistani authorities for failing to keep him out of the country, and for failing to prevent the U.S. raid by Navy SEALs that killed bin Laden in May 2011.

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Filed under: Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • Terrorism
Kerry aims to soothe Afghan-Pakistan tensions
Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai (L) and Pakistani Army Chief-of-Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani, on April 24, 2013 during a break in a meeting in Brussels.
April 24th, 2013
12:15 PM ET

Kerry aims to soothe Afghan-Pakistan tensions

By Elise Labott reporting from Brussels

Secretary of State John Kerry brought together Afghan and Pakistani leaders on Wednesday to help soothe tensions between the two countries and try to breathe life into the reconciliation process with the Taliban.

Keeping expectations low for any immediate progress in the process, Kerry said all sides still have "homework" to do.

"We have agreed that results will tell the story, not statements at press conferences," Kerry told reporters in Brussels before returning to Washington. "We are not going to raise expectations or make any kind of promises that can't be delivered."

Kerry hosted Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani at Truman Hall, the secluded estate of the U.S. Ambassador to NATO outside Brussels.
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Iran: Haven or prison for al Qaeda?
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith
March 8th, 2013
05:30 PM ET

Iran: Haven or prison for al Qaeda?

By Pam Benson

The arrest of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, who had been living in Iran for the past decade, has once again raised questions about whether the Iranian government is providing a haven or barrier to the terror group.

Al Qaeda and its members held under "house arrest" in Iran over the past decade have had a complicated relationship with the Tehran regime, one which allowed the detainees to often times continue supporting the terror group's operations in the region.

Current and former U.S. officials say al Qaeda in Iran managed to be fairly active in facilitating the movement of money and people into Pakistan where the core leadership has safe haven in tribal areas.

"They helped move people in and out of FATA through Iran for operational reasons," one former senior counter-terrorism official told CNN.

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U.S., Pakistan seek breakthrough to thwart bomb makers
A cloud of dust rises from an Afghan road after US troops destroy an IED in their path.
February 25th, 2013
05:05 PM ET

U.S., Pakistan seek breakthrough to thwart bomb makers

By Barbara Starr

The United States and Pakistan will begin working together on a new fertilizer formula that could be a significant technological step to limit the ability of terror groups to make improvised explosives and car bombs using the ingredient.

An agreement to try to make a product more inert was reached last week after Pakistani officials from Fatima Group, a major fertilizer manufacturer, met with Pentagon officials.

"Such a long-term solution would be a true scientific breakthrough," Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, the head of the Pentagon's Joint Improved Explosive Device Defeat Organization, said in a statement.

Barbero met with Fatima representatives to urge them again to take steps to control fertilizer inventories. The meeting itself was a step forward since the Pakistani government previously had stopped the U.S. military from talking directly to the company.
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January 31st, 2013
06:12 PM ET

Emboldened al Qaeda group seeking more Western targets to attack

By Barbara Starr

U.S. officials believe extremists across northern Africa, emboldened by the terror attack on a natural gas plant in Algeria, are growing more daring.

A senior American intelligence official tells CNN that "what we have seen is intelligence suggesting a desire to carry out more attacks" against western and U.S. interests in the region.

The United States is not aware of any specific threats, the official said.

But one of those believed to be plotting is Moktar Belmoktar, a veteran militant who has claimed responsibility for the attack this month on the BP facility in eastern Algeria that left at least 37 hostages dead.
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Africa • Al Qaeda • Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) • Algeria • Carter Ham • Intelligence • Libya • Mali • Military • Niger • Pakistan • Terrorism • US Africa Command
Algeria hostage crisis may be future of terrorism
A general view shows an oil installation on the outskirts of In Amenas, deep in the Sahara near the Libyan border.
January 21st, 2013
12:01 AM ET

Algeria hostage crisis may be future of terrorism

EDITOR’S NOTE: Raffaello Pantucci is a Senior Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and the author of the forthcoming 'We Love Death As You Love Life: Britain's Suburban Mujahedeen' (Hurst/Columbia University Press).

By Raffaello Pantucci, Special for CNN

At this still inconclusive stage it is difficult to know exactly what the aim of the groups involved in the attack on the gas installation in Algeria was. Did they truly want to ransom the hostages they took or massacre them, and was money or punishment to the Algerian or French government’s the driving motivation? What is clear is that the incident has immediately captured international attention, highlighting again how terrorism continues to be a tool that can be used by groups to bring focus to their causes. The deadly operation itself further highlights the direction that we are likely to see Islamist terrorism continue to go in over the next few years.

What seems clear is that the operation was conducted by a group of jihadist fighters under the command of Moktar Belmokhtar, a longtime fighter-criminal who had recently broken away from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to form a separate unit that was aligned with the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA). Reports seem to suggest that Belmokhtar is likely somewhere in the region of Gao, a city in eastern Mali that has recently been targeted by French forces as they seek to reclaim the country from Islamist extremists.
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Officials: Suspected U.S. drone strike kills 17 in Pakistan's tribal region
Pakistani demonstrators with a U.S. flag during protests in Multan January 3, 2013 against the drone attacks in tribal areas.
January 7th, 2013
03:26 AM ET

Officials: Suspected U.S. drone strike kills 17 in Pakistan's tribal region

By Shaan Khan

A suspected U.S. drone strike killed 17 people and wounded three Sunday in Pakistan's volatile tribal region, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The strike occurred in Babar Ziarat, which borders the Pakistani provinces of North and South Waziristan, near the Afghan border, the officials said.

Those killed and injured in the strike were believed to be militants, the officials said.

The attack follows two suspected U.S. drone strikes in the same area last week that killed 15 people, including a Taliban commander with ties to the Pakistani military.

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Filed under: drones • Pakistan
January 3rd, 2013
03:24 AM ET

Pakistani officials: Suspected U.S. drone strikes kill 15, including a Taliban leader

By Shaan Khan

Two suspected U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan's volatile tribal region left 15 people dead on Thursday, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

Among the 11 killed in one strike in the province of South Waziristan was a Taliban commander named Mullah Nazir, also known as Maulvi Nazir Wazir, the officials said.

The drone fired two missiles in the Sarkanda area of Birmil, killing Nazir, the officials said.

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Filed under: drones • Pakistan • Taliban
U.S. encouraged by Pakistan efforts to go after terrorists
December 12th, 2012
06:31 AM ET

U.S. encouraged by Pakistan efforts to go after terrorists

By Mike Mount

Pakistan is taking steps to try to limit terrorist safe havens inside the lawless western part of that country where various insurgent groups operating in Afghanistan find sanctuary, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Speaking to reporters traveling with him overseas, Panetta said recent meetings between the United States and Pakistan yielded encouraging signs that Pakistan is working on the long-standing problem.

"My sense is that they're in a better place, that they understand their responsibility," Panetta said. "General Kiyani [Pakistan's military chief], in particular, has indicated a willingness to try to put more pressure on the safe havens," Panetta said.

The United States and Pakistan have had a frosty relationship over the past few years during which time Pakistan closed border crossings or supply routes following a series of incidents.

These included U.S. troops firing into Pakistan while chasing insurgents, the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by American special forces in May 2011 in Pakistan, and NATO shelling that killed a number of Pakistani soldiers in November of that same year.

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Efforts to mend U.S.-Pakistani relationship continue
December 2nd, 2012
10:33 PM ET

Efforts to mend U.S.-Pakistani relationship continue

Editor's note: CNN's Jill Dougherty is traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Europe. Dougherty filed this report from Prague.

By Jill Dougherty

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with Pakistan's foreign minister and the army chief of staff Monday on the sidelines of a NATO summit to review where U.S.-Pakistani relations stand, a senior State Department official said.

Clinton's scheduled meeting in Brussels with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is latest in a series of talks this year aimed at repairing the bilateral relationship that was badly strained in 2011 following a raid by U.S. commandos on Osama bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

"Obviously, if you sort of step back a little bit, for us, 2011 was as hard a year in U.S.-Pakistan relations as you can imagine," the official said.

"And so we tried in 2012 to sort of get back into some sensible business with them. Our philosophy has been that it ought to be possible between Pakistan and the United States to systematically identify our shared interests and act on them jointly."

This year, the United States has tried to improve relations between the two countries by focusing on counterterrorism cooperation, Afghanistan's future and improving market access and trade - not aid - with a bilateral investment treaty, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as a matter of practice.

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