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Osama Bin Laden Letters Show Desire To Attack U.S. Targets

Osama bin Laden’s letters urged jihadist groups to stop domestic attacks that killed Muslim civilians and focus on the United States, “our desired goal,” says a study of declassified documents captured during last year’s U.S. raid on his compound in Pakistan.

The 59-page study titled “Letters from Abbottabad: Bin Laden Sidelined?” released online today, was written by a team of researchers the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point and supplemented with reviews and support from other experts.

The center is an independent, privately funded research and educational institution at the U.S. Military Academy that informs counterterrorism policy and strategy.


The end of the Abbottabad raid was the start of a massive analytical effort, retired Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, the center’s chairman, said in the report’s foreword, adding that experts from across the intelligence community worked to exploit the captured documents.

The letters total 175 pages in the original Arabic and 197 pages in the English translation. The earliest is dated September 2006 and the latest April 2011, the authors write, adding that some letters are incomplete or undated and not all attribute their authors or indicate an addressee.