Shifa Pharmaceutical Facility
A meeting of a number of Sudanese government officials and transnational terrorist organizastions [including a representative of Usamah Bin-Ladin] held in late 1997 decided to find the necessary financing to develop the chemical and bacterial weapons factory that the Sudanese Government has established in the Khartoum Bahri suburb of Kubar, in cooperation with the Iraqi Government, which smuggled special materials for this factory after the end of the Gulf War.
This complex was commissioned in 1997 and is based in a district in Khartoum North. It contains an administration building, a chemical factory disguised as a pharmaceutical factory and a five-star hotel for hosting foreign experts.
The US intelligence community is confident that this facility is involved in the production of chemical weapons agents including precursor chemicals for deadly V series of nerve agents like, for example, VX. The Shifa pharmaceutical facility produces a precursor that is unique to the production of VX nerve gas. The US intelligence community initially claimed that it had seen no commercial products that are sold out of this facility. The facility is located in an industrial complex area where there are surrounding facilities. The facility was also initially characterized as having a secured perimeter which was patrolled by the Sudanese military.
On 20 August 1998 the United States attacked and destroyed this facility, which was an important part of the Bin Ladin network of terrorist groups. At 1:30 p.m. (EDT) simultaneous military strikes were carried out against known terrorist training facilities in remote regions of Afghanistan and this industrial facility in Khartoum, Sudan. The targets selected and the timing of the strikes, 7:30 p.m. in Sudan and 10:00 p.m. in Afghanistan, were part of an overall effort to minimize collateral damage at the sites.
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|Photograph of the Shifa Pharmaceutical Plant, Sudan, used by Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and Gen. Henry H. Shelton, U.S. Army, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, to brief reporters in the Pentagon on the U.S. military strike on a chemical weapons plant in Sudan and terrorist training camps in Afghanistan on Aug. 20, 1998.|
The Administration's initial characterization of the Al Shifa pharmaceutical plant, based on intelligence assembled primarily by CIA, which concluded that the Al Shifa plant was involved in the manufacture of chemical-warfare materials, was based on a soil sample which disclosed the presence of a chemical precursor of VX nerve gas.
Subsequently, however, independent experts questioned whether this chemical would be present in the soil of a chemical weapons facility, and noted that the chemical was also a pesticide residue. As to the initial claim that the facility did not produce commercial pharmaceuticals, it was subsequently revealed that the facility was in fact one of the primary pharmaceutical production facilities in Sudan, and was in fact a showplace routinely toured by schoolchildren who watched the plant's employees package and bottle medicines. Westerners who had either toured the plant or participated in its construction reported no evident restrictions on their movement, and no evidence of chemical weapons production activities. Many CIA analysts believe that, while there is evidence tying Al Shifa to chemical weapons at some point in the past, the evidence cited by the Administration did not represent the most compelling information on the facility.
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